The International Maple Syrup Institute (IMSI) has been laying the groundwork for changes to the maple grading system since 2002. The IMSI represents maple syrup producers, maple packers and packer cooperatives, maple equipment manufacturers, vendors and others who are working together to maintain and enhance the economic, environmental and cultural values of the maple industry. The IMSI mandate is focused on both protecting the integrity and purity of maple syrup as well as positioning the industry for growth in North America and around the world.
The amended maple regulations include a standard definition for pure maple syrup which will be referenced as part of a uniform branding for pure maple. This will help consumers to distinguish pure maple from numerous products currently being sold in the retail marketplace that include label references to maple or visual representations from the maple industry but contain no real maple syrup or only very minimal amounts. The fact that current definitions and maple grading and nomenclature systems at both the federal and provincial/state levels in Canada and the United States lack uniformity often causes confusion among highly mobile consumers.
The new maple classification and grading system will offer a slate of four (4) distinct classes of Grade A quality pure maple syrup to consumers and commercial food ingredient users in North America and overseas. The four classes of maple syrup have unique descriptors for both the colour and the taste, with flavours ranging from delicate to strong. Pure maple syrup and pure maple derivatives, including maple sugar and maple butter, are a natural and healthy choice for enhancing the taste experience of a wide variety of different foods.
A second grade of pure maple syrup called “Processing Grade” will contain any maple syrup that possesses minimal food quality defects but still meets all government regulatory standards for food quality and safety for human consumption.
The adoption of standardized grades and definition for pure maple syrup will help ensure that the maple industry thrives in the years ahead . Communication and understanding concerning pure maple syrup will be improved while ensuring consumers have continued access to high quality pure maple products.