What is Total Activity or a TA Score?

Before launching our new brand and packaging we used to have a big number on some of the honey lids. This was an indicator of the Total Activity or TA score of the honey variety.

Honey’s antimicrobial quality is measured by the term “Total Activity (TA)”. The higher the TA score the greater the antimicrobial strength. Most unpasteurised and coarse filtered ("raw") honey types possess some activity level, usually on a scale from 1 to 20. Honeys with Total Activity over 10+ are considered to have substantial antimicrobial properties.

This is why doctors have been told to recommend honey as a first line of defence with a cold before resorting to antibiotics by Public Health England. This is similar to a UMF or MGO rating for Manuka honey which is much more widely known than a TA score. We lab tested each batch to get an accurate score for the lids which was fairly costly and a pain to change.

We usually had TA score results between 10 and 20. To put it in context, a TA score of 15+ is equivalent to a Manuka MGO rating of 500 which costs upwards of £20.00 a jar.

Most of our customers didn't know what the number meant and combined with the complexities and costs of testing and updating the scores we decided to remove it from the new labels and focus on the origin of the honey with the beekeeper and location of the hive becoming much more prominent alongside our British bee mascot.

We still get asked about Total Activity and if our honeys have a score, which they obviously still do, as it's the same honey as before. Here's a guide to the varieties which had high levels, if it's something important to you when choosing as honey:

British Spring Honey
Average Total Activity Score: 11.5

British Summer Honey
Average Total Activity Score: 10

British Autumn Honey
Average Total Activity Score: 17

Seaside Honey
Average Total Activity Score: 11.5

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