The Rowse Campaign For Real Manuka

What is authentic Manuka Honey? Well, first of all it has to be produced by honeybees feasting on the nectar of New Zealand Manuka trees – or Leptospermum Scoparium if we’re being technical.

And secondly, each pot must have a substantial amount of methyglyoxal, or MGO. MGO is the active component in Manuka Honey which dictates the level of Non-peroxide Activity (NPA) within each jar.

And here’s the problem. Current UK guidelines don’t state what the minimum levels of MGO should be, meaning that other brands can sell products with little or no MGO content, under the Manuka name.

But with Rowse, you can always be sure you’re getting the real deal.

The Rowse Pledge

  • Rowse NPA Manuka Honey is guaranteed 100% pure and authentic.
  • All Rowse Manuka Honey is tested twice for its authenticity; at source in New Zealand and again on arrival in the UK.
  • By testing it twice Rowse ensures that customers are getting the real deal every time.
  • Rowse Honey is committed to ensuring consumers get value for money and to protect the authenticity of this much loved product.



Introducing the Experts

Professor Peter Molan, Founder of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato.

Professor Peter Molan identified that honey produced from the New Zealand Manuka tree has NPA that is not found in other honeys.

“I’ve been researching the health and healing qualities of Manuka Honey for more than three decades and it’s clear that in some cases there’s a distinct gap in what consumers are paying for and what they’re actually getting. This is driven by the manipulation of the rating systems and lack of legislation around labelling and testing Manuka Honey.”

“In order to be genuine Manuka honey, a substantial amount of methyglyoxal – or MGO – must be present but current guidelines don’t say what the minimal MGO levels should be. This means a considerable amount of Manuka Honey sold is not genuine.”

“It’s great to see Rowse Honey’s commitment to ensuring consumers are getting the real deal. Their use of NPA ratings on pack clearly states the level of active MGO in the jar, and so people can be confident they’re buying genuine Manuka honey.”

Peter Molan sadly passed away in September 2015, after having dedicated over 30 years of his life to investigating the mysterious properties of Manuka Honey. His ground-breaking work will be forever valued and always remembered.

Diane Eden, Head of Honey Quality at Rowse:

“Rowse is committed to ensuring consumers get exactly what they’re paying for. We have trusted and well-established suppliers in New Zealand and use clear NPA ratings on pack, which clearly show the level of active MGO in the jar, so shoppers can be confident they’re getting 100% pure and authentic Manuka honey from Rowse.”

As part of our commitment to ensuring Manuka customers get value for money, Rowse Honey is also supporting the Manuka Identification Project by the UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) Honey Association based in New Zealand which aims to develop a scientifically-based classification criteria for Manuka Honey.


Why are you calling for improved guidelines regarding the testing and labelling of Manuka Honey?

An investigative report from The Grocer found that an estimated 1,800 tons of Manuka Honey was sold in the UK in the last year. Rowse Honey believes that up to 45% of the Manuka in the UK could be fake, meaning a huge number of British consumers are not getting the real deal. Authentic Manuka honey can only be produced from honey bees feeding on the nectar of the Manuka tree which grows throughout New Zealand, and has an active component of methylglyoxal (MGO).

New Zealand is the world’s sole supplier of authentic Manuka Honey. Figures from the industry suggest that around 2,500 – 3,000 tonnes of Manuka Honey is produced each year, but 6,500 tons of produce is being sold internationally, which indicates a huge discrepancy.

Current guidelines on testing and labelling do not adequately define what constitutes authentic Manuka Honey. This makes it possible for some brands to claim that inauthentic products are real Manuka Honey, even if they don’t have enough methylglyoxal (MGO) – the active component in Manuka Honey that dictates its NPA rating.

As such, some Manuka Honey carry labels which promise an ‘active’ ingredient. However, Rowse believes that Manuka Honey should have a minimum NPA rating of 5+ to be considered real Manuka Honey.

What’s wrong with the current guidelines?

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in New Zealand published its interim labelling guidelines on 31st July 2014.

The guidance paper is not legally enforceable but it has introduced some new terminology in order to provide a definition of what constitutes authentic Manuka Honey.

Whilst Rowse acknowledges that the task is a difficult one, we believe the current MPI definition of Manuka will not improve the current situation with regards to the supply of genuine Manuka honey.

The guidelines lay out a number of characteristics which if met allow the word “Manuka” to be used on a label.

However, the guidelines only quantify the characteristics of colour and conductivity which are not unique to Manuka and, critically, do not define a minimum level for MGO, which is exclusive to Manuka and is responsible for its unique property – Non Peroxide Activity (NPA).

Rowse is committed to increasing consumer awareness and education of genuine Manuka Honey, and we are working with relevant industry bodies to further tighten the guidelines on testing and labelling.