Friday, January 14, 2011

Protecting the Integrity of Maple Syrup

Vermont takes maple syrup seriously.  So seriously, that they are preventing McDonald's from selling its "Fruit and Maple Oatmeal" because it doesn't contain maple.  The VAA, Vermont's Agency of Agriculture (sounds like something out of Harry Potter, doesn't it?) looks into products claiming "maple" and determined that McDonald's needs to either re-label the product or stop selling it, as it is misleading.

According to slashfood:

"What we understand, is there is no actual maple in the [McDonald's] product being advertised. Vermont maple law and regulations are very specific for how the term maple is used in advertisements," Kelly Loftus, VAA spokesperson told Slashfood. "It is illegal to use the word maple on a product unless the sweetener is 100 percent pure maple. Artificial maple flavoring should be clearly and conspicuously labeled on the principal panel with the term 'artificial flavor'.
"Maple is Vermont's signature product. We take the regulations that sustain the purity of the product extremely seriously. When we see something out there that says maple syrup, but really isn't maple syrup according to our regulations here, well that's something that needs to be addressed," says Loftus

Vermont produces the most maple syrup of any state, producing 890,000 gallons in 2010.  NY state produced the second most with 320,000 gallons!  By contrast, NH produced 87,000 gallons.

Vermont law requires that anything labeled maple must be preservative and additive free.  It takes about 40 years for a maple tree to grow enough to produce maple syrup and a tree with a 10 inch trunk can take only one tap.  40 gallons of sap boil down to just one gallon of syrup.  And the season for tapping trees lasts only between 4 - 6 weeks in the spring.

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