OMAFRA's 2017 Maple Syrup Monitoring Program

Loree Saunders, Compliance Program Coordinator
(loree.saunders@ontario.ca or 519-826-5255)
Linda Hill, Data & Issues Management Coordinator
(linda.hill@ontario.ca or 519-826-4532)

Examples of various bottles of maple syrup

OMAFRA's 2017 Maple Syrup Monitoring Program was conducted from January 1 to April 31, 2017. During that time, 75 samples of Ontario produced maple syrup were randomly collected from points of sale across the province. Samples were sent to the University of Guelph Agriculture and Food Laboratory for analysis where they were tested to determine lead levels, density (sugar content) and light transmission (colour classification) levels. In addition to lab analysis, product labels were reviewed to determine if the required packaging and labelling requirements are met.

Lead Analysis

Lead levels above Health Canada's guideline of 0.5 parts per million (ppm) were detected in three samples. OMAFRA staff, accompanied by CFIA inspectors, conducted inspections of the production equipment and identified the source(s) of lead. No public recalls were issued as a result of these samples. Samples will be collected from these three operations in the 2018 season.

Density

Of the 75 samples collected, five samples had a density under the regulatory requirement of 66 per cent. These five producers were issued warning letters and provided information on density requirements for Ontario maple syrup. Samples will be collected from these five operations in the 2018 season.

Light Transmission (Colour Classification)

All samples were assessed for light transmission to determine if they were labelled with the correct colour class. Of the 75 samples:

  • 65 had a colour class indicated on the label
  • 34 of these samples were labelled with the correct colour class
  • 41 samples either were not labelled with a colour class or were not labelled with the correct colour class

Label Review

Product labels were reviewed by OMAFRA inspection staff. Of the 75 labels reviewed:

  • 33 were fully complaint and contained all the mandatory label requirements
  • 42 samples were missing at least one required component

Grade Name

Product labels were reviewed to determine if the sample was labelled with the correct Ontario grade. Of the 75 samples collected:

  • 47 were labelled with the correct Ontario grade (i.e., either "Ontario No. 1" or "Ontario Grade A")
  • 28 samples were not labelled with a grade, or were labelled with an incorrect grade (i.e., "Canada No 1". or "No. 1")

Lab Results and Compliance Action

Lab results were mailed to all 75 maple syrup producers. Compliant lab results were kept confidential and only provided to the producer. Producers with non-compliant labels were notified by mail and provided education materials. Continued failure to comply with the regulatory requirements will result in progressive compliance action by the ministry. Compliance action could include compliance orders, product detention and tickets.

2018 Maple Syrup Monitoring Program

As part of the 2018 Maple Syrup Monitoring Program, 75 samples of Ontario produced maple syrup will be collected from across the province. The program will assess producers that have had lead detected in previous samples, as well as current and new producers. Similar to 2017, samples will be sent to the University of Guelph laboratory for analysis to determine lead levels, density and light transmission.

Product labels will be reviewed to determine if the required packaging and labelling requirements are met. Please refer to the article titled 'Adjusting to New Regulatory Requirements' for information on compliance action that will be taken when lead is detected in a sample.

Additional information on OMAFRA's monitoring programs as well as maple syrup regulatory requirements and summaries from previous years, can be found at www.ontario.ca/producesafety.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: Loree Saunders, Compliance Program Coordinator and Linda Hill, Data & Issues Management Coordinator
Creation Date: December 2017
Last Reviewed: December 2017