Adjusting to New Regulatory Requirements
Teresa Ferreira, Regulatory and Standards Coordinator
Lead detected in a sample of maple syrup would indicate that the sap or syrup has come into contact with a non-food grade lead surface. This would suggest that the regulatory requirement for food grade material has not been met.
The Ministry has updated their policy on how to work with producers with lead in their syrup sample to address this new regulatory requirement. Between February 1 and April 30, 2018, 75 samples of Ontario maple syrup will be collected as part of the Ministry's Maple Syrup Monitoring Program. These samples will be sent to the Agriculture and Food Laboratory for lead analysis.
To address the new regulatory requirement, the Ministry has revised compliance and follow-up action plans.
Lead reported between 0.16ppm and 0.50ppm is not considered a food safety concern but does indicate a source of lead in the production system. Producers will be notified and will be visited by a OMAFRA Risk Management Specialist to investigate and try to determine the source(s). If the source of lead is identified, a Compliance Order will be issued stating that the producer will have until a certain date to replace/remove the identified lead bearing equipment. Producers will be asked to advise OMAFRA when the equipment has been replaced and to provide proof. OMAFRA will visit all producers just prior to the start of the 2019 season to verify compliance. If equipment has not been removed or replaced, the incident will be referred to the Regulatory Compliance Unit for further compliance action.
Lead above 0.5 ppm will be treated as a food safety concern. All established notification and follow-up protocols outlined for lead levels between 0.16ppm and 0.50ppm will be followed. However, in addition to immediate producer notification, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will also be notified. An OMAFRA Risk Management Specialist will visit the operation to investigate and try to determine the source(s) of lead, and may be accompanied by CFIA.
Lead levels below 0.16 ppm does not warrant any action by the Ministry. Lab results will be sent to all producers.
For more information on the Maple Syrup Monitoring Program or the regulatory requirements please visit www.ontario.ca/producesafety.
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300