2013 Maple Syrup Monitoring Program Results Summary

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

In 2013, the ministry collected 150 maple syrup samples, from 149 different maple syrup operations. All samples were produced in Ontario during the 2013 season and were collected from retail and farm gate locations across the province.

Samples are analyzed for:

  • lead residues
  • density (Brix)
  • light transmission

Ministry staff also review product labels to determine if they include the required information for maple syrup 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, five samples (three per cent) contained lead levels above the maximum Health Canada guideline of 0.5 ppm.

When lead levels exceed 0.5 ppm, the producer and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are immediately notified. The CFIA is responsible for conducting risk assessments of the products, and determining if a recall is required. One public recall was issued as a result of these findings. OMAF and MRA also respond by conducting additional sampling, conducting an on-site visit, and/or providing education and information to the producer to prevent recurrence.

The ministry also sends information letters to producers with lead levels between 0.25 ppm and 0.49 ppm. One information letter was sent in the 2013 season.

Table 1: Summary of Lead Results 2007-2013

Year # Samples Lead at or above 0.5 ppm (# / %)
5 / 3%
2 / 1%
2 / 1 %
4 / 2%
4 / 1%
7 / 2%
11 / 3%
35 / 2%


O. Reg. 119/11 of the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001 requires that the percentage of dissolved solids in syrup, or Brix level, be at least 66 per cent.

Of the 150 samples tested, 141 (94 per cent) had Brix levels equal to or greater than the minimum requirement.

Producers with Brix levels below the minimum requirement are first issued a warning letter. Progressive compliance tools may be used in cases of repeated non-compliance.

Light Transmission

O. Reg. 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, 135 (90 per cent) had a colour class indicated on the label. Laboratory analysis showed that 92 (68 per cent) of these were labelled with the correct colour class.

Producers with incorrect colour class on their label are first sent information letters and educational materials. Progressive compliance tools may be used in cases of repeated non-compliance.

Label Review

OMAF and MRA review product labels to determine if they meet labelling requirements set out in O. Reg. 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:

  • 116 (77 per cent) were fully compliant with all of the required label requirements
  • 34 (23 per cent) had at least one component missing
  • 2 samples did not have any label at all

The ministry first sends education letters and material to producers who do not meet labelling requirements. Progressive compliance tools may be used in cases of repeated non-compliance.

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.

Tools used are based on the level of risk associated with the non-compliant issue and the producer's history of non-compliance.


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
Author: Firstname SPACE Lastname SPACE HYPHEN SPACE Title/Affiliation
(eg. John Doe - Crop Specialist/University of Guelph)
Use a SEMI COLON to separate multiple entries:
(eg. John Doe - Crop Specialist/University of Guelph; Jane Doe - Crop Specialist/OMAFRA)
Creation Date: dd SPACE fullmonth SPACE yyyy
Last Reviewed: dd SPACE fullmonth SPACE yyyy