Ontario Maple Syrup Regulations
The production of maple syrup and related products in Ontario by non-federally registered producers is subject to regulatory requirements 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. The regulation was established on July 01, 2011 under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001 and set out standards for grading, colour classification, packaging, labelling, and misrepresentation. The following provides a summary of the requirements.
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 No. 1||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.|
Section 4 refers to contamination, and section 6 refers to the cleanliness and sanitary conditions of production and packing facilities.
Until June 30, 2013, non-federally registered Ontario maple producers may use federal grade standards outlined in the Maple Products Regulations under the Canada Agricultural Products Act. As of July 1, 2013, non-federally registered Ontario maple producers must comply with the grade and colour classification requirements of O. Reg. 119/11.
Colour classification shall be according to Table 5 in the regulations, as follows:
|Item||Colour Class||Percentage of Light Transmission|
|1.||Extra Light||75% or more|
|2.||Light||60.5% or more, but less than 75%|
|3.||Medium||44% or more, but less than 60.5%|
|4.||Amber||27% or more, but less than 44%|
|5.||Dark||Less than 27%|
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 not be sold in a bulk container that is less than 20 litres in size.
Persons who pack maple products shall apply a label that contains the information required under the regulation. The labelling requirements in O. Reg. 119/11 are in addition to requirements in the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (Canada) or the Food and Drugs Act (Canada). A label is considered applied if it is stamped directly on the package, has a wrapper/band/ticket/tag or other label attached to the package by any means. 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.
- 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.
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”.
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.
Under the regulation, "Maple Syrup" means syrup that,
a) Is produced from the concentration of maple sap or by the dilution of maple products in potable water, and
b) Has a minimum soluble solids content of 66 per cent as determined by a refractometer at 200C.
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.
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. With support from the federal and provincial ministries of agriculture, OMSPA conducted lab tests on pure maple syrup in order to develop generic nutritional information for pure maple syrup produced and sold within Ontario. Proper nutritional labels are now 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.
The International Maple Syrup Institute has proposed changes to the maple syrup grade and colour classification scheme that may come into effect in the next year or two. We will provide more details on these new requirements when a firmer date for implementation is established. In the meantime, non-federally registered Ontario maple producers must adhere to provincial grade and colour classification requirements outlined in O. Reg. 119/11.
A copy of O. Reg. 119/11 can be found at:
For additional information regarding requirements of O. Reg. 119/11, please contact Paul Bailey (1-888-466-2372 ext 64380 or firstname.lastname@example.org) or Suzete Moniz (1-888-466-2372 ext 64655 or email@example.com) at OMAFRA in Guelph.
Federal Maple Syrup Regulations
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) administers the applicable federal acts and regulations related to maple products. CFIA has in place specific inspection requirements for certain trade activities, including import and export from Canada, as well as the shipment of maple products between provinces. Registration is required to enable an establishment preparing maple products regulated under the Maple Products Regulations to:
- export them (either under the establishment's own label or that of a buyer or first dealer),
- trade them interprovincially (either under the establishment's own label or that of a buyer or first dealer),
- apply a Canadian grade mark to the applicable products.
To conduct inter-provincial and international trade, there is a requirement to register with CFIA to conduct business. Such companies are termed "registered establishments". The key acts and regulations CFIA enforce are:
- Canada Agricultural Products Act
- Maple Products Regulations
- Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act
- Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations
- Food and Drugs Act
- Food and Drug Regulations
All food sold in Canada, regardless of where it is produced (federally registered or non-federally registered), must follow the requirements set out in the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and the Food and Drugs Act. The Canada Agricultural Products Act and the Maple Products Regulations come into effect if a maple syrup producer or packer is a federally registered establishment. Maple products must meet the requirements of the Maple Products Regulations which cover quality, labelling, packaging (including standardized sizes), grading, and health and safety requirements. If a maple producer is interested in becoming a federally registered establishment, we recommend that you contact CFIA directly to obtain more detailed information on their requirements. The CFIA contact for maple products in Ontario is
- Sal DeMonte, CFIA, 226-217-8322
A copy of the federal Maple Products Regulations can be found at: