When shopping for maple syrup at the grocery store, consumers should read the label to be sure the product is 100 per cent pure.
But when it comes to which flavour suits their needs, the labels can be confusing.
New uniform labelling based on colour and texture developed by the International Maple Syrup Institute is being phased in after being approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture.
Colour and flavour of syrup can vary during the season because its natural composition varies.
Only two grades will exist under the new rules, Grade A for retail and Grade B for processing. Syrup available for consumers will only be labelled Grade A with four different colour classes:
— Golden with a delicate taste
— Amber with a rich taste
— Dark with a robust taste
— Very dark with a strong taste
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are following the federal regulations.
Quebec producers who export maple syrup will use the new system this year. Those who sell their syrup in the province will continue to use the provincial labelling system, which includes two categories and five colour classes according to clarity, density and flavour.
Ontario's system also has two categories and five colour classes. Jim Leal, minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, said Wednesday he was aware of the new national standard grading of maple syrup but that consultations with Ontario producers on the new labelling was continuing.