Overview

A maple product is any product (including maple syrup, maple sugar and maple taffy) that is obtained exclusively from the concentration of maple sap or, in the case of maple syrup, by the dilution of other maple products in potable water.

Ontario Regulation 119/11 – Produce, Honey and Maple Products (referred to as O. Reg. 119/11), under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001, sets out requirements maple products in Ontario including:

  • grading
  • packaging
  • labelling
  • transporting
  • selling

You must comply with this regulation if you:

  • pack, transport or sell maple products in Ontario and
  • do not hold a federal license from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for that activity

For full details, refer directly to O. Reg. 119/11. This regulation’s requirements are in addition to any applicable federal legislation such as the Food and Drugs Act or the Safe Food for Canadians regulations.

Food safety requirements

You cannot:

  • pack, transport or offer contaminated maple products for sale
  • blend contaminated maple products with maple products that are not contaminated

Contaminated means that the maple product either:

  • contains or has been exposed to a hazard
  • contains a substance that is not permitted by the federal government
  • contains a substance that exceeds the permissible levels prescribed by the federal government

Premises, facility, equipment and utensil requirements

If you operate a premises where maple products are produced or packed, you must ensure that all of the following are kept clean and sanitary when used for maple product production and/or packaging:

  • premises
  • facilities
  • equipment
  • utensils

You must also ensure that items used during the production or packaging of maple products or the collection, storage and transportation of maple sap are made from non-toxic, food grade materials that will not contaminate the maple products. This includes any:

  • equipment
  • utensils
  • containers
  • other food contact surfaces

For more information about these requirements, refer directly to the regulation, “Preventing lead contamination in maple syrup” and “Premises and food grade material requirements for maple syrup in Ontario”.

Maple syrup density requirements

In order to meet the definition of maple syrup, the syrup must be produced from the concentration of maple sap by the dilution of maple products in potable water, and must have a minimum soluble solids content of 66% as determined by a refractometer at 20 degrees Celsius.

For more information about measuring the density of maple syrup, refer to “Density requirements for maple syrup in Ontario”.

Maple syrup grade and colour classification

If you pack, sell or transport maple syrup that is offered or intended for sale to consumers or retail outlets, you must grade and classify the maple syrup for colour in accordance with Sections 8, 9 and 12 of O. Reg. 119/11. This requirement applies to both consumer containers and bulk containers of maple syrup.

Grading and colour classification can be carried out by the maple syrup packer, producer or person acting on their behalf and must occur before the maple syrup is transported or sold to the consumer.

If you are repacking maple syrup, then as the re-packer, you must ensure that the maple syrup is labelled with the correct grade and colour class.

Grade

Maple syrup must be labelled as either:

  • Ontario Grade A
  • Ontario Processing Grade

The grade is determined by several factors, including uniformity and flavour. The requirements for each grade are described in Table 4 of the regulation.

Colour

Maple syrup must be labelled with one of the four colour classes listed in Table 5 of the regulation:

  • Golden
  • Amber
  • Dark
  • Very Dark

Maple syrup must be classified for colour in accordance with this table, using a spectrophotometer or a visual glass comparator. Refer to Section 12 of the regulation for additional details about colour class determination.

You may also choose to include taste descriptors on the label. Taste descriptors are listed in Table 5 and can only be used with the correct corresponding colour class.

Container requirements

A container is any bottle, jar, bag, pail, drum or other receptacle that contains the maple product. Section 18 of O. Reg. 119/11 describes the container requirements for maple products.

A consumer container is any container of maple syrup or other maple product that has a capacity of five liters or less or five kilograms or less, as applicable. A bulk container is any container of maple syrup or other maple product that has a capacity of more than five liters or more than five kilograms, as applicable.

All consumer and bulk containers for maple products must be:

  • clean
  • sound (not broken, damaged or leaking)
  • suitable for the purpose
  • made from non-toxic, food grade material

All consumer containers must be new and securely closed. Bulk containers are not required to be new but must meet all other requirements listed above.  

Every container of maple syrup must be also filled to at least 90 per cent of its capacity.

Label requirements

A label is any of the following that is applied to a to a maple product container:

  • mark
  • sign
  • device
  • imprint
  • stamp
  • ticket
  • tag

Label requirements are described in Section 22 of O. Reg. 119/11. These requirements depend on the type of maple product and the size of the container.

Label requirements for maple syrup

Containers of maple syrup that are greater than 125 millilitres must be labelled with the:

  • name of the maple product (for example “Maple Syrup”)
  • name and full address of the packer or person on whose behalf the maple syrup is packed, such as a retailer, producer or other person. Refer to Name and address requirements for details.
  • place of origin, if required. Refer to Place of origin for details.
  • grade immediately followed by the colour class. Refer to Grade and colour classification for details.
  • volume of maple syrup in the container (in liters or millilitres)
  • production lot code. Refer to Lot code requirements for details.

Containers of maple syrup that are 125 millilitres or less do not require the grade, colour class, volume or production lot code on the label. All other labelling requirements apply.

Label requirements for other maple products (maple taffy, maple sugar, etc.)

Containers of maple products other than maple syrup that are greater than 150 grams must be labelled with the:

  • name of the maple product
  • name and full address of the packer or person on whose behalf the maple product is packed, such as a retailer, producer or other person. Refer to Name and address requirements for details.
  • place of origin, if required. Refer to Place of origin for details.
  • net weight of the product (in grams or kilograms)

Containers of other maple products that are 150 grams or less do not require the net weight on the label. All other labelling requirements apply.

Bulk maple syrup dispensers

If maple syrup is sold from a bulk dispenser and poured into consumer containers at the time of purchase, then the label on the bulk dispenser does not require the volume. All other label requirements apply to the bulk container. 

Re-used bulk containers of maple syrup

If labels on previously used bulk containers do not meet the requirements of the regulation, then you must ensure the previous labels or information on the labels is completely removed and replaced with new labels that comply with the regulation. 

Consumer containers of maple syrup must be new and cannot be previously used. Refer to Container requirements for details.

Place of origin requirements

Maple products that are produced and packaged within Ontario do not require a place of origin on the label. You may optionally choose to include this information. For example, you may include "Product of Ontario" on your label.

If all or part of the maple product was produced outside Ontario and repackaged within Ontario, then this must be indicated on the label using the words “Product of/Produit de.”

  • Maple product produced outside Ontario must include the name of the country or the Canadian province where it was produced (for example, “Product of USA”, “Product of Manitoba” or “Product of Canada”).
  • Maple products that are a blend of Ontario maple product and maple product produced outside Ontario must include the name of all countries or Canadian provinces where the maple product was produced (for example, “Product of Ontario and Manitoba”, “Product of Canada and USA” or “Product of Canada”).

Refer to Section 22 of the regulation for details about the place of origin requirements.

Lot code requirements

All maple syrup containers with a capacity of more than 125 ml must include a production lot code on the label. Lot codes are recommended for maple products other than maple syrup.

A production lot is the grouping of product produced, processed or packaged under similar circumstances within a given timeframe. A production lot code is a unique, specific code that identifies each production lot. A lot code and can be any unique combination of letters and/or numbers. Records must be maintained for each lot code.

For more information about lot coding, please refer to the page entitled "Production lot codes for maple syrup in Ontario".

Name and address requirements

All labels must include a name and complete address with enough information to identify the exact physical location of the person or business responsible for the maple product. This typically includes:

  • farm name, company name or person’s full name
  • street address
  • town or city
  • province
  • postal code

Misrepresentation

Section 25 of O. Reg. 119/11 prohibits maple product labels, containers and advertisements from containing any false or misleading information.

Maple product substitutes

When other ingredients, such as sugars or nuts are added to a maple product, it no longer meets the definition of a maple product and is instead considered a maple product substitute. A maple product substitute is defined as any product that resembles a maple product in appearance and is prepared for the same uses as a maple product but is not obtained exclusively from maple sap.

There are labelling and container restrictions with regards to maple product substitutes. These are described in Section 26 of O. Reg. 119/11.

For more information about labelling maple product substitutes, please contact OMAFRA's Food Safety Inspection Delivery Branch at fpo.omafra@ontario.ca.

Additional requirements

Provincial (Ontario)

Consult your local health unit for any additional requirements that may apply under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Federal (Canada)

Requirements under O. Reg. 119/11 are in addition to federal requirements under the Food and Drugs Act or the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations. For example, the Food and Drugs Act provides requirements for nutrition labelling on consumer containers.

Consult the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for more information about federal requirements or for information about importing and exporting food products.

Contact us

OMAFRA staff are available to review maple product labels and provide advice and guidance to help you meet the requirements under O. Reg. 119/11. Please contact the Inspection Programs Unit by email at fpo.omafra@ontario.ca or call 1-877-424-1300 for more information.