Maple Syrup Monitoring Program
Table of Contents
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) conducts an annual Maple Syrup Monitoring Program. Ontario Regulation 119/11 (O. Reg. 119/11) under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001 regulates the safety, sale, packaging and labelling, transportation, and advertising for sale of maple products produced by Ontario's non-federally registered maple producers. The Maple Monitoring Program is a tool used to assess compliance with O. Reg. 119/11.
Under this program, samples of maple syrup produced in Ontario are randomly collected from points of sale across the province. Laboratory analysis determines lead levels, as well as density (sugar content) and light transmission (colour classification) levels. Product containers and labels are reviewed to determine if the required packaging and labelling requirements are met.
Density and colour class requirements as well as labelling criteria for maple syrup are set out in O. Reg. 119/11. The regulation requires that accurate information be provided to buyers of maple syrup and promotes fair trading practices.
Maple syrup that is sold or offered for sale must have a minimum soluble solids content of 66 percent (66º Brix).
Samples collected as part of this program are analyzed for density using a bench top digital refractometer.
The accurate colour class must appear on the label of all maple syrup containers. Colour class is determined by measuring per cent (%) light transmission. Samples are analyzed at a laboratory using an electronic spectrophotometer to determine light transmission.
On January 1, 2016, O. Reg. 119/11 was amended to include new grades and colour classifications. Until December 31, 2017, producers have the option of using either the "old" (Table 1) or the amended colour classifications (Table 2).
Table 1. Old Colour Classification for Maple Syrup
Table 2. Amended Colour Classification for Maple Syrup
Producers using the amended colour classes have the option of adding the taste descriptor associated with the colour classification. For example, the colour classification of Ontario Grade A maple syrup with a light transmission of 50% or more, but less than 75% may be labelled as either "Amber" or "Amber, Rich Taste".
Individual taste descriptors shown above in Table 2, may be associated only with the corresponding colour classifications. Use of taste descriptors other than Delicate, Rich, Robust and Strong is prohibited.
The grade, immediately followed by the colour class, must appear on the label of a maple syrup container offered for sale, sold or transported directly to a consumer or to a retail outlet if the maple syrup is packaged in a consumer or bulk container. Maple producers have the option of using either the "old" (Table 3) or "amended" grades (Table 4) until December 31, 2017.
Table 3. Old Grade for Maple Syrup
Table 4. Amended Grades for Maple Syrup
"Ontario Grade A" must be used by non-federally registered packers. Only federally registered packers can use the federal "Canada" grade standards and names.
Maple syrup labels on collected samples are reviewed to determine if they meet the labelling requirements outlined in O. Reg. 119/11. Every container of maple syrup with a capacity of more than 125 ml that is offered for sale, sold or transported must have a label with the following information:
A full address means sufficient information to identify the exact location of the relevant person's premises, such as a municipal address or property identification number, and includes a postal code.
For containers of maple syrup with a capacity of 125 ml or less, the grade, colour class and volume of the syrup are not required on the label.
Effective January 1, 2018, all maple syrup containers with a capacity of more than 125 ml must be identified with a production lot code.
All maple syrup samples collected are analysed for the presence of lead.
The detected lead level is compared to Health Canada's guideline of 0.5 parts per million. Producers are immediately notified by telephone if the lead level detected exceeds the guideline in the sample collected. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is also notified and may take follow-up action, including possible collection of new samples, product detention and/or disposal or recall.
The Ministry takes a proactive approach to compliance based on prevention. The first stage is education and advice. If education and advice fail to bring about voluntary correction, additional steps may be taken. Progressive compliance steps may include verbal or written warnings, compliance orders with specific instructions, product detention or seizure.
For more information on progressive compliance refer to the infosheet "What you Should Know About Ticketable Offences".
For more information on labelling maple syrup, refer to the infosheet "Label Requirements for Maple Products in Ontario", O. Reg. 119/11 or the "Maple Products Guidance" document.
For additional information on the Maple Syrup Monitoring Program, and a summary of samples collected, visit the Foods of Plant Origin website at: www.ontario.ca/producesafety.
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300