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Manuka Honey

Manuka Honey - How Strong are you?




In Britain alone we consume our way through 20.3 million kg of the stuff per year; spread on our breakfast toast, as an alternative to sugar in cooking, or as a natural health remedy. Honey sales have been soaring for the past few years with honey overtaking jam for the first time in 2014 in terms of sales.

Fera offers a range of chemical and microbiological analysis services to the honey industry to support the marketing of legitimate labelling claims and help protect the consumer from food threats or fraud. This includes the new Leptosperin Manuka specific marker test to confirm the authenticity of honey labelled as 'Manuka'. This patent is now licensed to the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association (UMF® Honey Association) and Fera is the only laboratory in UK to be the preferred partner by the UMF® Honey Association as an official testing laboratory for independently verifying the UMF® rating of Manuka honey.


Naturally Antibacterial

Widely accepted benefits of Manuka honey make it highly sought after

Regularly Adulterated

With the higher price tag, Manuka honey is regularly adulterated, blended and diluted

New Leptosperin Test

An emerging chemical marker to support verification of Manuka honey authenticity. Fera is the only laboratory in UK to be the preferred partner by the UMF® Honey Association

Manuka Flower

Manuka Honey Testing

Because of Manuka honey's unique antimicrobial property, there is great demand for it, and it can command higher retail prices than most other types of honey. With such high stakes, it is essential that consumer confidence in the integrity of the industry is maintained.

Any honey can contain antimicrobial properties that help healing, but Manuka honey can also contain a non-hydrogen peroxide antimicrobial agent that makes it unique. With the level of this agent varying between Manuka honeys, it is vital that producers and retailers can provide robust evidence to support labelling claims about the activity of their products.

Fera offers the following testing services to confirm antimicrobial activity in Manuka honey. All analyses are fully validated and performed to current industry standards.

Chemical

  • Methylglyoxal (MGO) - a naturally occurring chemical present in New Zealand Manuka honey. The concentration of MGO is closely related to the non-peroxide activity (NPA) which is a unique characteristic associated with Manuka honey

  • Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) - present in New Zealand Manuka honey and detected in the nectar of Manuka flowers. DHA converts to MGO during the honey production process. According to the Ministry for Primary Industries guidelines for Manuka honey, both DHA and MGO should be present in products characterised as New Zealand Manuka-type honey

  • Hydroxymethylfurfural(HMF) - levels are often used as a honey quality indicator as concentrations increase under excessive heat and storage times. HMF is particularly relevant to Manuka honey as the conversion of DHA to MGO is accelerated under high temperature. According to codex standards for honey the HMF content, after processing, shall not be more than 40 mg/kg or 80 mg/kg in regions with tropical ambient temperatures

  • Each of the 3 compounds above can be analysed together as a triple procedure. The method is UKAS accredited.


  • Leptosperin - an emerging chemical marker to support verification of Manuka honey authenticity see: Leptosperin Manuka specific marker test

  • Test

    Type

    Turnaround

    MGO UPLC-UV-DAD 10 working days
    DHA UPLC-UV-DAD 10 working days
    HMF UPLC-UV-DAD 10 working days
    MGO+DHA+HMF UPLC-UV-DAD 10 working days
    Leptosperin UPLC-UV-FLD 10 working days

    Microbiological

  • Phenol equivalence testing of non-peroxide (NPA) - Manuka honey contains a unique and vital ingredient called methylglyoxal (MGO) which is responsible for the honey's Non-Peroxide Activity (NPA). This is only found in authentic Manuka honey and is an indicator of its antibacterial properties to confirm that products are true to stated UMF® rating. Fera is the only laboratory in UK to be the preferred partner by the UMF® Honey Association as an official testing laboratory for independently verifying the UMF® rating of Manuka honey.
  • Total activity (TA) - this is a 'true to label' test

  • Test

    Type

    Turnaround

    NPA Microbiological 10 working days
    TA Microbiological 10 working days
    NPA+TA Microbiological 10 working days




    Bees in Honeycomb

    Additional Honey Testing Services

    Fera offers other analytical testing services for all types of honey, listed below;

    • Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) Analysis - Analysis of HMF content to detect if honey has undergone excessive heat-treatment during processing or adulteration. Levels are often used as a honey quality indicator as concentrations increase under excessive heat and storage times. According to codex standards for honey the HMF content, after processing, shall not be more than 40 mg/kg or 80 mg/kg in regions with tropical ambient temperatures.
    • Veterinary Medicines and Pesticide Residue Analysis - As the National Reference Laboratory for Veterinary Medicine Residues and Pesticide Residues, Fera conducts the UK Statutory Surveillance program on honey, and is therefore ideally placed to assist with any residue analysis of honey
    • Verification of geographical origin - Isotope ratio analysis to assess that honey is from its stated country or region of origin
    • Sugar Addition Analysis - Honey is susceptible to adulteration with cheaper sweeteners; those that have been detected in adulterated honeys include sugar syrups and molasses inverted by acids or enzymes from corn, sugar cane, sugar beet and syrups of natural origin such as maple. Adulteration of pure honey with synthetic honey has become much more prevalent in recent years.

    • Consultancy - if you have questions about honey product development, market acceptance, the regulatory environment, sometimes it requires another experienced person or team to help pull things together and move them ahead. Fera's consultancy service is made up of senior scientists who have broad and deep experience in the honey industry that we can bring to bear on your research project which goes beyond analysis and scientific expertise.