If you’ve previously searched for Manuka honey, either online or on the shelf of your local health food shop, you may have come across a number of grading systems, and one of these grading systems is MGO Manuka Honey– but what is it and what does it test for?
What is MGO stand for?
MGO stands for Methylglyoxal the active component in Manuka which gives it’s antibacterial properties that have been medically certified for wound healing.
MGO provides the antibacterial effect that is so-often spoken about. The MGO grading system tests for the Methylglyoxal contained within the honey. However, Methylglyoxal can be produced synthetically and added to the honey during manufacturing process, so the test does not offer a true sign of purity and quality when it comes to evaluating genuine Manuka.
Which MGO that is Scottish Heather honey if compare to NZ Manuka honey?
Heather honey’s antibacterial properties are mostly due to the natural enzymes in the honey that reacts with oxygen to produce hydrogen peroxide. Research shows this is equivalent to the antibacterial activity of Manuka UMF 10+/Active 10+/MGO 260. Notwithstanding all unadulterated raw honeys have antibacterial properties associated with them outwith this enzyme, this dependent on the phytochemicals of the plant which are transferred via the nectar and pollen from the plant, however nothing has been clinically proven as yet.
Is there any other rating other than MGO to rate honey?
For honeys other than Manuka, there is a test known as the Total Activity Test (TA test). This is an inhibitory plate test tested against one bacteria only – Staphylococcus aureus.
A few honey producers have started to market the TA activity level of their honey for labels/marketing material as their looking to rival Manuka. This is allowable in regards to food labelling laws however putting any health claims associated with this on the label prohibited.
The TA activity will degraded during time, temperature and light as the natural enzymes will denature. Note, as the test is measured against one bacteria only it really doesn’t present much evidence and can be misleading to the consumer.