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Authenticity - Manuka Honey & Honey

Fera offers a range of analytical services to the honey industry to support the marketing of legitimate labelling claims and help protect the consumer from food threats or fraud.

honey, manuka honey, testing, analytical services

Manuka honey & honey testing

Fera offers chemical and microbiological analysis - including the new Leptosperin Manuka specific marker test - to confirm the authenticity of honey labelled as 'Manuka'. All analyses are fully validated and performed to current industry standards. Fera offers the following testing services including the new Leptoperin Manuka specific marker test to confirm antimicrobial activity in Manuka honey.


  • 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



    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


  • 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



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

    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.

How to take and submit a sample

To have your honey tested you need to send approx. 50g of honey in a plastic container with a screw lid. The sample should not contain wax and just be a representative sample. Download and complete our Food Generic Sample submission form and send it along with your samples to;

Ella Patel (Food Analysis)

Fera Science Ltd

Sand Hutton

York, YO24 4EJ

Download our Sample submission form here: Food Generic Sample Submission Form

National Reference Laboratory

We are the National Reference Laboratory for:

  • Food, Feed and Food Contact Materials
  • Pesticide Residues
  • Veterinary Medicine Residues

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Safeguarding pollinators

Fera has the knowledge and experience to help retailers and manufacturers develop robust pesticide policies that address the concerns of all stakeholders, meet corporate social responsibility objectives and protect the health of both pollinators and humans.

Find out more at FutureHive by Fera

Food Testing, Detection and Analytical Services Brochure

Download the latest Food Testing, Detection and Analytical Services Brochure

  • Various GC-MS and LC-MS screening tests
  • National Reference Laboratory Status
  • Extensive range of experts & multiplex testing where possible

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Meet the Expert - Adrian Charlton

Dr. Adrian Charlton is a prominent researcher within Chemical & Biochemical Profiling at Fera Science.

Adrian has been key to various projects within Fera. Most notably: