2012 Maple Syrup Monitoring Program Results Summary

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Rural Affairs (OMAF and MRA) conduct a Maple Syrup Monitoring Program each year to monitor compliance of Ontario maple syrup under Ontario Regulation 119/11 (O. Reg. 119/11) of the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001.

In 2012, the ministry collected 150 maple syrup samples, from 146 different maple syrup operations. All samples were produced in Ontario during the 2012 season and were randomly collected from retail and farm gate locations across the province.

Samples were analyzed at the University of Guelph Laboratory Services for:

  • lead residues
  • density (percentage dissolved solids)
  • light transmission

Ministry staff also reviewed product labels to determine if they included information required under O. Reg. 119/11.

Lead Analysis

All 150 samples were analysed for the presence of lead. Levels detected were compared to the maximum guideline of 0.5 parts per million (ppm) set by Health Canada.

Of the 150 samples tested, two samples (one per cent) had lead levels above 0.5 ppm.

When lead levels exceeded 0.5 ppm, the producer and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) were immediately notified. The CFIA is responsible for conducting risk assessments of the products, and determining if a recall is required. No public recalls were issued as a result of this sampling. OMAF and MRA responded by conducting additional sampling, conducting an on-site visit, and/or providing education and information to the producer to prevent recurrence.

Table 1: Summary of Lead Results 2007-2012

Year # Samples Lead at or above 0.5 ppm
(# / %)
2 / 1%
2 / 1 %
4 / 2%
4 / 1%
7 / 2%
11 / 3%
30 / 2%


O. Reg. 119/11 requires that the percentage of dissolved solids in syrup, or Brix level, be at least 66 per cent. Of the 150 samples tested, 137 (91 per cent) had Brix levels equal to or greater than the minimum requirement.

Light Transmission

Ontario Regulation 119/11 requires that maple syrup offered for sale is labelled with the class and the grade of the syrup. All 150 samples were assessed to determine if they were labelled with the correct colour class.

Of the 150 samples collected, 137 (91 per cent) had a colour class indicated on the label. Laboratory analysis showed that 107 (78 per cent) of these were labelled with the correct colour class.

Maple syrup producers were notified by mail if their label had an incorrect or missing colour class.

Label Review

OMAF and MRA reviewed product labels to determine if they met labelling requirements set out in Ontario Regulation 119/11. Refer to the Infosheet "Label Requirements for Maple Syrup Products in Ontario" for a summary of label requirements.

Of the 150 labels reviewed, 106 (71 per cent) included all of the label requirements; 44 (29 per cent) had at least one component missing; and one sample (one per cent) did not have any label at all.

Maple syrup producers with missing label information were notified by mail.

Table 2: Summary of Missing Label Information

Label Information Number of samples Per cent of samples
No. of labels reviewed
All requirements present
"Maple Syrup" missing
Volume missing
Grade missing
Colour missing
Name or complete address missing

Progressive Compliance

OMAF and MRA take a progressive compliance approach when dealing with regulatory non-compliance. The first stage is education and advice. For instances of continuing non-compliance, other tools may be used such as compliance orders, detention or seizure of product and as a last resort, court orders.


This document is provided for information purposes only. Please refer to the regulation for complete requirements. Ontario Regulation 119/11 can be found at www.e-laws.gov.on.ca

Results from this program are not statistically valid and cannot be used to make generalizations about the state of industry.

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
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