Regulation 119

Ontario Maple Syrup Regulations

Ontario Regulation 119/11: PRODUCE, HONEY AND MAPLE PRODUCTS,

 under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001, S.O. 2001, c. 20

January 01, 2016

The production of maple syrup and related products in Ontario is subject to regulations administered by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). The applicable regulation is Ontario Regulation 119/11 Produce, Honey and Maple Products, originally established on July 01, 2011 under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001. The regulations set out standards for premises, grading, colour classification, packaging, labelling, and misrepresentation. A number of regulatory amendments were made on January 01 2016. Note that some of the changes to the regulations can be phased in – with January 01 2018 being the date when all producers must comply with the new requirements.

The information provided here reflects the new requirements in the revised regulations. OMSPA encourages all producers to adopt the new regulatory standards as soon as possible.

The following provides a summary of the regulatory requirements.

Premises

The regulations state that every person who operates premises at which maple products are produced or packed shall maintain the premises, and the facilities, equipment and utensils used in their production or packing, in a clean and sanitary condition. The regulations require all equipment, utensils, containers or other food contact surfaces that are used during the production or packing of maple products to be made of food grade material that is non-toxic and that will not cause or contribute to the contamination of the maple products.

Note that the revised regulations require all equipment, utensils, containers or other food contact surfaces that are used during the collection, storage or transportation of the maple sap to be made of food grade material that is non-toxic and that will not cause or contribute to the contamination of the maple sap.

Grading and Colour Classification

Any maple syrup being sold to the consumer or a retail outlet must be graded and classified for colour by the producer, packer, or retailer. If the product is subsequently repacked, then the person who does the repacking must ensure that the product is properly graded and classified for colour.

Maple syrup shall be graded according to Table 4 in the regulations, as follows:

Item Grade Name Grade Requirements
1. Ontario Grade A 1. The Maple Syrup,
    a) Is free from fermentation;
    b) Is uniform in colour and free from cloudiness or turbidity;
    c) Has a maple flavour characteristic of its colour class and is free from any objectionable odour or taste.
    2. The sale of maple syrup is not prohibited by section 4 of this Regulation.
2. Ontario Processing Grade 1. The sale of maple syrup is not prohibited by section 4 of this Regulation.

 

The revised regulations have adopted the colour classification system now in use by most maple syrup producing regions in North America. Colour classification shall be according to Table 5 in the regulations, as follows:

Item Colour Class Taste Descriptor Percentage of Light Transmission
1. Golden Delicate Taste 75% or more
2. Amber Rich Taste 50% or more but less than 75%
3. Dark Robust Taste 25% or more but less than 50%
4. Very Dark Strong Taste Less than 25%

 

Under the revised regulations use of the Taste Descriptor is optional; however OMSPA encourages all producers to use the Taste Descriptors on their labels, in order to promote consistency in the market place and help the consumer better understand the classification of maple products

The regulation states that colour shall be determined optically by a spectrophotometer or a visual glass comparator. The latter are readily available from maple equipment suppliers and are the most common method used to classify colour. Note that the visual classification kits typically have a shelf life of about 2 years, after which the colours in the glass jars tend to become lighter. This may result in some of your syrup appearing to be a darker grade then it actually is.

Packaging and Labelling

Any non-federally registered producer that sells maple product in Ontario must comply with the packaging and labelling requirements set out in the Ontario regulation. Containers used for maple syrup:

  • Can be of any size and shall be filled to at least 90% of its capacity,
  • shall be clean and sound,
  • shall not have been previously used and be securely closed, and
  • Ontario Processing Grade must be clearly labelled as such

Persons who pack maple products shall apply a label that contains the information required under the regulation. Every label shall include:

  • The name of the maple product,
  • The name and full address of the packer (or the retailer, producer or other person who the product was packed for),
  • And for maple syrup; the volume of maple syrup in the container, and the grade and colour class of the syrup in the container,
  • a code identifying the production lot of the maple syrup,
  • And for other maple products; the net weight of the product.

Note that containers of maple syrup of 125 ml or smaller do not require the volume, grade or colour class on the label.

Note that a code identifying the production lot of the maple syrup is a new requirement effective January 01 2018.

In the case of a maple product that is produced outside Ontario and transported into Ontario in bulk for packaging and sale within Ontario, in addition to any other information required under this section, a label on the container containing the maple product shall set out the information related to its place of origin as follows:

  • If the maple product has not been blended with Ontario product, the words “Product of” followed by the name of the province or country where it was produced,
  • If the maple product was produced in a country outside Canada and is blended with maple product produced in Ontario, the words “Product of Canada and” or “Product of Ontario and” followed by the name of the other country,
  • If the product was produced in Canada but outside Ontario and is blended with maple product produced in Ontario, the words “Product of Ontario and” followed by the name of the other province, or “Product of Canada”.

Misrepresentation

The regulation includes general provisions against providing false or misleading information on any label, package, container, or advertisement for maple product; including the name of the packer, the place where the product was produced, the amount in the container, and the grade or colour class of the product. There are also restrictions on the use of the word “maple” on products that do not contain maple syrup or if maple syrup only constitutes a percentage of the product in the container.

Density

Under the regulation, “Maple Syrup” means syrup that,

  • Is produced from the concentration of maple sap or by the dilution of maple products in potable water, and,
  • Has a minimum soluble solids content of 66 per cent as determined by a refractometer at 20°C. For producers, this means that syrup must be concentrated to a minimum density of 66° Brix to meet the requirements of the regulation. In practice, most producers will tend to finish their syrup at a slightly higher concentration, typically between 66.5° and 67.5° Brix.

Nutritional Labelling

Canada’s nutrition labelling regulations have been designed to provide a system for conveying information about the nutrient content of food in a standardized format, which allows for comparison among foods at the point of purchase. Clear, uniform information should support consumers in making informed food choices toward healthy eating goals. Proper nutritional labels are available through maple equipment suppliers.

Producers should be aware that Nutritional Facts Tables are required on all maple products except for foods sold only at a road-side stand, craft show, flea market, fair, farmers’ market and sugar bush by the individual who prepared and processed the product.

Federal Registered Establishments

Federally registered producers must follow the requirements administered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The legislative and regulatory requirements can be found in the Canada Agricultural Products Act, Maple Products Regulations.

Additional Information

A copy of O. Reg. 119/11 can be found at: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_110119_e.htm