Grading and quality standards for maple syrup prepared in federally registered establishments in Canada are regulated by the Maple Products Regulations (MPR). The amendments to the MPR, which were registered and came into force on December 12, 2014, are intended to correct consumer confusion and inconsistencies in grading and quality standards, as well as address industry concerns about product crystallization, reinforce that maple syrup is made exclusively from maple sap, and improve traceability. Industry has two years in which to transition to the new requirements.
Previously, light maple syrup could qualify to be identified as “Canada No. 1”, while dark and stronger tasting maple syrups were graded as “Canada No. 2”. This grading system implied to consumers that there was a difference in quality, which is not the case. This system is also inconsistent with Ontario, Quebec, and American standards for colour and grading. The amendments to the MPR introduce two new grade names and standards, Canada Grade A and Canada Processing Grade, and four new colour classes for Canada Grade A maple syrup: Golden Delicate, Amber Rich, Dark Robust and Very Dark Strong.
In respect to the prevention of crystallization, the amended MPR provides that maple syrup may only be graded if it has a maximum soluble solids content of 68.9% as determined by a refractometer or hydrometer at 20° C. Further, the definition of “maple syrup” was amended to add the word “exclusively”: syrup that is obtained “exclusively” by the concentration of maple sap or by the dilution or solution of a maple product in water.
Finally, the MPR amendments require the assignment of production codes and/or lot numbers, which will facilitate traceability and thereby assist industry and the regulator in the case of a recall.