Frequently Asked Questions
What is Manuka honey?
There is significant global demand for medicinal honey and the proven anti-bacterial properties of New Zealand’s premium Manuka honeys have secured high prices for New Zealand producers. Manuka honey’s medicinal qualities are known to:
- Stimulate healing, reduce inflammation, minimise scarring
- Assist in fighting bacteria related to sore throats and stomach ulcers
- Augment the impact of antibiotics and may reduce or mitigate human resistance to antibiotics
- Improve immunity and boost energy levels
New scientific research by the Oz Honey Project has proven that the anti-bacterial activity level (measured as NPA and MGO) in Australian Manuka honey is at least as high as in the better known New Zealand Manuka honey and shares the same health and well-being qualities as the New Zealand varieties.
Explaining the ratings
The organic compound methylglyoxal (MGO) is responsible for much of the unique activity in Manuka honey. The measure of the amount of methylglyoxal is expressed on labels in mg/kg of MGO. There is a relationship between MGO concentration and the Non-Peroxide Activity level of a honey but the numbers are derived from different types of tests.
The UMF Honey Association suggests this guide to the relationship between NPA and MGO levels:
NPA/UMF® 5+ = MGO 83
NPA/UMF® 10+ = MGO 263
NPA/UMF® 15+ = MGO 514
NPA/UMF® 20+ = MGO 829
The NPA levels of the Manuka/Jelly Bush honey, typically ranging from 5+ to 25+, generally dictate what it will be used for. For instance, the lower strengths of 5+ to 9+ are used to support good general health, strengths of 10+ to 15+ are considered medically useful. The stronger Manuka Honey strengths of 16+ and above are classed as medical grade honey and can be used to treat wounds.
Gustare’s Australian Manuka Jelly Bush honey has been tested by Dr Peter Brooks, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at the University of the Sunshine Coast, QLD, Australia and also a member of the Oz Honey Project’s research team. The tests proved that this particular variety has a NPA rating of 5.1 and MGO rating of 86.
Gustare is offering our first Manuka honey at a low-price entry point to encourage consumers to try the product and will be introducing higher grade active honey in the future.
Is Manuka honey unique to New Zealand?
Gustare’s Manuka Jelly Bush Honey is harvested from the Leptospermum polygalifolium species, native to the Australian states of New South Wales and Queensland.
Manuka honey is in demand globally not because it is from New Zealand but because of its activity levels which give it medicinal qualities. New Zealand producers are unable to meet the increasing demand for medicinal honey, which has resulted in suppliers blending or diluting Manuka honey or selling fake products. Successive poor harvests in New Zealand are likely to make meeting international demand even more difficult.
The New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries has recently introduced a new scientific test for Manuka honey. This test and the regulations which will be introduced to govern the industry in New Zealand are designed to ensure that New Zealand beekeepers and suppliers are only selling genuine, undiluted Manuka honey to both the domestic and international market. This will be important in protecting the integrity of New Zealand products but will not affect the development of Australian active and medicinal honey.
The Australian active honey industry is still in the early stages of development but has huge potential. Gustare Honey and other Australian producers stand behind the provenance and integrity of their active honey, which is submitted for independent scientific tests before being marketed as Manuka or Jelly Bush Honey, and look forward to meeting the international demand for medicinal honey.
Why are we using the term “Manuka”?
Ultimately our Manuka Jelly Bush honey should be judged on the scientifically-proven activity levels in the honey. As recent investigations in the UK have shown, the names “Manuka” or “New Zealand” on jar labels are not proof of the health and well-being properties of the honey.
New Zealand’s proposed General Requirements for Export (GREX) of Manuka Honey
What products are subject to the New Zealand General Requirements for Export?
What does this mean for Australian Manuka or Jelly Bush honey?
Australian producers, including Gustare Honey, are committed to independent scientific testing their product prior to sales to prove antibacterial activity levels in the honey and ensure all products are true to label.