Maple syrup is regulated by Ontario Regulation 119/11 – Produce, Honey and Maple Products (O. Reg. 119/11). It is provincial regulation under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001.
O. Reg. 119/11 applies to anyone who packs, labels, transports, advertises, or sells maple syrup in Ontario, regardless if you have 1 tap or 100,000. It also applies to imported products that are repacked. The only exception is CFIA-certified operations.
The following requirements are applicable for maple syrup in retail containers only.
Labelling requirements depend on the size of the retail container. Remember that you may voluntarily submit your label to Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) for a free review by sending a photo to email@example.com, or by calling the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300.
Retail Bottles Over 125mL
If your container has a capacity over 125mL, it must be labelled with the following information:
- Be anywhere on the maple syrup container:
- Attached (stuck on)
- Affixed (tag that is attached to the container)
- Consist of one or multiple labels
- Be written in either official language – refer to federal legislation for bilingual labelling requirements
- Include information in addition to what is required (such as email, phone number, etc.) if that information is true and not misleading.
Containers may have more than one label, as long as all the required information is displayed.
Name and Address
This should be the name and address of the party who will be responsible for the product, should OMAFRA need to follow up. The responsible party can be the producer, packer, or the retail store.
The name may be the producer’s full name or the farm/operation name.
Full physical address includes enough information to identify the exact physical location of the relevant premises:
- Municipal street address or property identification number
- Town or city
- Postal Code
|Joe & Daisy Happy 1 Stone Road West Guelph, ON N1G 0A5||Happy Maple Farm 1234 County Road 111 Guelph, ON N1G 0A5|
Place of Origin
The place of origin is required when the maple syrup is produced outside of Ontario, transported into Ontario in bulk for repackaging and sold within Ontario. It is not required for product produced and packed in Ontario, but producers may wish to include it for marketing purposes.
This specific format must be used: “Product of/Produit de” followed by the name of the Canadian province or county. For example, “Product of Canada and/Produit du Canada”
If the maple syrup is produced and packed within Ontario
- Place of Origin labelling is voluntary (if used, must be in the format below)
- i.e. “Product of Ontario”
- Ontario must be “Ontario” spelled out in full, and not short form (i.e. “ON” or ” Ont.”)
If the maple syrup is produced outside of Ontario but is not blended with Ontario product
- Place of Origin is mandatory
- “Product of” followed by the name of the Canadian province or country
- i.e. “Product of Quebec” or “Product of USA”
If the maple syrup is a blend containing product produced inside and outside of Ontario
- Place of Origin is mandatory and must indicate all places
- i.e. “Product of Ontario and Quebec” or “Product of Ontario and USA”
- If all places are in Canada, “Product of Canada” can be used
Production Lot Code
Please see this page for more information.
- Cannot be measured by net weight (g or kg); must be in volume (mL or L)
- Required on maple syrup containers greater than 125 ml
- In metric
- Container size is not regulated
Grade and Colour Class Requirements
The grade and colour class on the label must match one of the grade and colour class names listed in Tables 4 and 5 of O. Reg. 119/11 and meet the requirements listed in those tables.
Either “Ontario Grade A” or “Ontario Processing Grade”
Grade is determined by several factors. Requirements for each grade can be found in Table 4 of O. Reg 119/11
Table 5 of O. Reg 119/11 provide the requirements for four applicable colour classes
- Including the taste descriptor is optional. If used, must match with colour class.
- Grading and colour classification can be done by the packer, producer, or a person acting on their behalf
- Must occur before the maple syrup is transported or sold to the consumer
- If the maple syrup is re-packed, then the re-packer must ensure that the maple syrup is labelled with the correct grade and colour class.
- Must ensure proper grade and colour class names are used and formatted correctly
O. Reg. 119/11 defines a “container” as any bottle, jar, bag, pail, drum or other receptacle that contains maple products.
- All maple syrup containers must be:
- Suitable for the purpose
- Made from non-toxic, food grade material
- Filled to at least 90% capacity
- Consumer containers (less than five liters) must also be:
- New (not previously used)
- Securely closed
- Bulk containers (five litres or more)
- Are not required to be new, but information from any previous labels must be completely obliterated
- Must meet all other container and label requirements
- Brix is a measurement of the amount of sugar in an aqueous solution
- Measured in degrees Brix (°Bx)
- One degree Brix is equivalent to one percent sugar
- Maple Syrup must have a minimum soluble solids content of 66% (66 °Bx). Otherwise, it does not meet the definition of maple syrup
- Brix is best measured using a refractometer at 20° Celsius
Low Brix is typically caused by not boiling down the maple sap for long enough. This causes the syrup to be thinner and more watery than it should be. In addition to the product not technically being “maple syrup”, producers can more easily run into issues with mould or shelf life when the Brix is too low.
Retail Bottles 125mL or Less
If your container has a capacity of 125mL or less, it must be labelled with the following information:
Section 25 of O. Reg. 119/11 prohibits any false or misleading information on any label, package, container or advertisement for maple syrup.
Specifically, no person shall misrepresent:
- the name or address of the packer or the person on whose behalf the maple product is packed
- the place where the maple syrup was produced
- the amount of maple syrup in a container
- the grade or colour class of the maple syrup
The packaging of a non-pure maple syrup product cannot mislead the consumer into thinking that it is pure maple syrup. Misleading information includes:
- Having the words “maple syrup” on the label
- Having actual descriptor words (e.g. “maple flavoured”, “table syrup”) in a small or nondescript font
- Product being stored in a container that consumers strongly associate with pure maple syrup, i.e. maple leaf-shaped glass, beige plastic jug with handle
Misleading consumers in this manner is illegal according to O. Reg. 119/11. If you see instances of this, please take photos of the misleading product, note the location of sale, and send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information
Any questions about food safety regulations or requests for additional detail can be directed to the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300, or submitted by email to email@example.com.
Last updated December 2021.
[JL1]Links to previous sections