Manuka honey is a mono-floral honey produced primarily from the nectar of Leptospermum genus plants.
In New Zealand, the dominant cultivar in the wild is Leptospermum scoparium, which produces a high strength Manuka honey with a unique flavour and profile. Chemical markers can identify the purity.
In December 2017, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) finalised a robust and sophisticated scientific definition that authenticates New Zealand as the Country of Origin.
The New Zealand government Export Controls require that all product for which an official assurance is required complies with the MPI Manuka standard.
As our understanding grows, chemical markers help to authenticate New Zealand Manuka.
Buying manuka honey that is made in New Zealand and that clearly states the amount of MGO on the label is the easiest way to know you are buying authentic New Zealand Manuka honey.
Markers help us to identify the purity, quality and origin of our Manuka Honey.
We do not hide behind rating systems or labels. We just make the best.
The activity of each jar is stated on the front of the jar based on the scientifically validated levels of active Methylglyoxal (MGO) and it's Chemical Marker Status as Monofloral or Multifloral Manuka.
These are the markers that aid authentication of Manuka honey:
Methylglyoxal (MGO): This indicates the potency. MGO was directly correlated to antibacterial effect in research produced by Dr Thomas Henle at the University of Dresden in 2008.
Dihydroxyacetone: Found in the nectar of most Leptospermum species, DHA converts to MGO over time. There is no MGO in the nectar of Manuka plants, only DHA. MGO begins to develop in the honey, once the bees have made their contribution.
3-phenyllactic acid: This is the first of four markers required by MPI. 3-PLA is also found in Kanuka Honey, from Kunzea ericoides, and Multifloral Manuka honey may also contain some Kanuka Honey.
2-methoxyacetophenone: This marker is required by MPI. This compound is uniquely identified in Leptospermum scoparium and is not commonly found in other Leptospermum spp honey's. The range is restricted to Tasmania and New Zealand.
2-methoxybenzoic acid: This marker is found in the majority of New Zealand Manuka and is required by MPI. Dr Peter Brooks and the University of the Sunshine Coast have also identified this marker in Australian honey.
4-hydroxyphenyllactic acid: The final marker required by MPI to be present. Also found in Australian Leptospermum honey's and New Zealand Kanuka Honey.
Lepteridine: The potential use of Lepteridine as a marker was evaluated by researchers in New Zealand, including Dr Jonathon Stephens, Chief Scientist at Comvita.
Leptosperin: This marker is controlled by patent, owned by Dr Joji Kato. Leptosperin is also found in honey produced in Australia so we do not include in our panel of relevant markers for definition of NZ origin Manuka.
There are additional compounds found in most honey's that are not used in identification, that can be used for general quality assurance purposes. These include tests on pollen types, inherent moisture, enzyme assays (diastase activity), sugar content and ratios (C4, Fructose/Glucose), conductivty and total solids/ash content.
We use the other tests to ensure we produce the best that can be bought, and the chemical markers to ensure the identity and flavour are exactly what you expect. You can rest assured, as our science is par excellence.