Proposed Bill Would Prevent Sale of Fake Maple Syrup


VERMONT — Two U.S. senators are behind a bill aimed at quashing the sale of fake maple syrup.

The Maple Agriculture Protection and Law Enforcement Act (MAPLE), which was introduced by senators Patrick Leahy and Susan Collins, makes it a felony offense to purport to sell cane sugar syrup, for example, and label it as maple syrup.

Senator Leahy is alarmed by the growing number of individuals and businesses claiming to sell authentic Vermont maple syrup when they’re selling a counterfeit product. “This is fraud, plain and simple, and it undermines a key part of Vermont’s economy. I know that hardworking syrup producers in Maine, New York and other states have been similarly hurt by this crime.”

Luckily, the American problem isn’t a big concern in Canada. “We don’t have the adulteration issues here as much as what’s happening in the States,” said Ray Bonenberg, president of the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association.

In Canada, Quebec is the largest producer of maple syrup, making more than 75 per cent of the world’s output. The Ontario maple syrup industry operates in accordance with bill 119, part of the Farm Products Grades and Sales Act. Highlights of the act dictate that maple products offered for sale must have the name of the maple product marked on the container as well as its volume, grade and colour-class.

According to Bonenberg, Canada’s maple syrup industry is monitored on an ongoing basis. “We constantly have a testing program looking for contamination and other additives.” Bonenberg says, in Canada, we have “permissive levels” that “allow some folks to say, for instance, 15-per-cent maple syrup. As long as the label says that, legally they’re allowed to say maple.”

Maine is the third-largest producer of pure maple syrup in the United States.

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