Grade, Colour and Label Requirements for Maple Syrup in Ontario

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Grade and Colour Requirements
  3. Container Requirements
  4. Label Requirements
  5. Misrepresentation
  6. Maple Syrup Substitutes
  7. Additional Resources


Ontario Regulation 119/11 - Produce, Honey and Maple Products under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001 sets out legal requirements for grading, packaging, labelling, transporting and selling maple products in Ontario. Any person who packs, transports or sells maple products that are packed in a non-federally licensed establishment must ensure they comply.

This Infosheet provides a summary of the grade, container and labelling requirements for maple syrup. For complete details of all requirements, please refer directly to Ontario Regulation 119/11, which is available at:

These requirements are in addition to applicable federal legislation such as the Food and Drugs Act or the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations.

Ontario Regulation 119/11 does not apply to maple syrup that is packed or repacked in a federally registered or licenced establishment. For information about regulations that apply to these establishments, please consult the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Grade and Colour Requirements

Maple syrup intended for sale directly to a consumer or retail outlet must be graded and assigned a colour class in accordance with Sections 8, 9 and 12 of Ontario Regulation 119/11.

Grading and colour classification can be done by the packer or producer, or a person acting on their behalf; and must occur before the maple syrup is transported or sold to the consumer.

If the maple syrup is re-packed, then the re-packer of the maple syrup must ensure that the maple syrup is labelled with the correct grade and colour class.

Grade and colour classification are not required for maple syrup in containers less than 125 millilitres.


Grade is determined by several factors; including uniformity and flavour. A complete list of requirements for each grade can be found in Table 4 of Ontario Regulation 119/11. Maple syrup must be labelled as either "Ontario Grade A" or "Ontario Processing Grade."


Table 5 of Ontario Regulation 119/11 provides the requirements for four applicable colour classes: "Golden", "Amber", "Dark", or "Very Dark". Maple syrup must be classified for colour in accordance with this table.

Container Requirements

A "container" is any bottle, jar, bag, pail, drum or other receptacle that contains maple syrup. Maple syrup must be packed in containers that are:

  • clean
  • sound
  • suitable for the purpose
  • made from food grade material

Consumer containers (those with a capacity of five litres or less) of maple syrup must be new and securely closed. Every container must be filled to at least 90 per cent of its capacity. Bulk containers (those with a capacity of five litres or more) are not required to be new. All other container requirements above apply.

Label Requirements

Label requirements are set out in Section 22 of Ontario Regulation 119/11 and depend on the size of the retail container.

Consumer Containers of more than 125 millilitres (ml)

Every container with a capacity of more than 125 ml, must be labelled with the following information:

  • the name of the maple product (i.e. "Maple Syrup")
  • the name and full address of the packer or the person on whose behalf the maple syrup is packed (such as a retailer, producer or other person)
  • place of origin labelling, if required (see below)
  • the grade immediately followed by the colour class
  • the volume of maple syrup in the container
  • a production lot code (see below)

Consumer Containers of 125 milliliters or less

Maple syrup containers with a capacity of 125 ml or less must be labelled with the following information:

  • the name of the maple product (i.e. "Maple Syrup")
  • the name and full address of the packer or, if the maple syrup is packed on behalf of another person, the name and full address of the person for whom the maple syrup was packed for
  • the place of origin for the maple syrup, if required (see place of origin requirements below)

Bulk Containers

Bulk maple syrup packed in previously used containers must either:

  • have new labels that meet all requirements, or
  • information on previous labels must be completely obliterated and any required information added.

Place of Origin Requirements

Maple syrup that is produced and packaged within Ontario does not require a place of origin on the label. The packer may choose to include this information (i.e. "Product of Ontario").

If the maple syrup is produced or packaged anywhere other than Ontario, then the place of origin must be indicated on the label. For example: "Product of Quebec" or "Product of USA."

If the maple syrup is a blend containing maple syrup produced inside and outside of Ontario, then the label must indicate both places of origin. For example: "Product of Ontario and Quebec" or "Product of Ontario and USA."

Lot Code Requirements

All maple syrup containers with a capacity of more than 125 ml must be identified with a production lot code. A production lot is the grouping of product produced, processed or packaged under similar circumstances within a given timeframe. A lot code is the specific identifier assigned to all products in a production lot and can be any unique combination of letters and/or numbers. Records must be maintained for each lot code. For more information about lot coding, please refer to the information sheet entitled "Production Lot Codes for Maple Syrup in Ontario".


Under Section 25 of Ontario Regulation 119/11, maple syrup labels, containers or advertisements must not contain any false or misleading information.

Maple Syrup Substitutes

When other ingredients, such as sugars or nuts are added to maple syrup, the product no longer meets the definition of maple syrup and is instead considered a maple product substitute. A maple product substitute is defined as any product that resembles a maple product in appearance and is prepared for the same uses as a maple product but is not obtained exclusively from maple sap.

There are labelling and container restrictions with regards to maple product substitutes. These are described in Section 26 of Ontario Regulation 119/11. For more information about labelling maple product substitutes, please contact OMAFRA's Food Safety Inspection Delivery Branch at

Additional Resources

OMAFRA staff are available to review maple syrup labels and provide advice and guidance to help producers bring their products into compliance. Please contact the Food Safety Inspection Delivery Branch at for more information.

For information about OMAFRA's Maple Syrup Monitoring Program, please refer to the Infosheet entitled "OMAFRA's Maple Syrup Monitoring Program".

Provincial (Ontario)

Ontario Regulation 119/11 under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001

Federal (Canada)

Requirements under Ontario Regulation 119/11 are in addition to federal requirements under the Food and Drugs Act or the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations. For example, the Food and Drugs Act provides requirements for nutrition labelling on consumer containers. Please refer to the Canadian Food inspection Agency for more information about federal requirements.

For more information:
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