Fédération des producteurs acéricoles du Québec
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Grading system Back

Over the course of the season, maple syrup varies in color (light to dark) as well as taste. These changes are completely natural.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Ministère de l’agriculture, des pêcheries et de l’alimentation du Québec jointly monitor the safety and quality of maple products in Canada.

A new grading standard came into effect on December 12, 2014, in Canada and maple syrup producers for companies that only sell in Quebec have until December 2017 to comply. Companies with a registration number that export maple syrup have to comply by December 2016. Until then, labels on small containers of maple syrup may display either the old or the new grade.

The changes will standardize the definitions and grading systems for maple syrup in the U.S. and Canada. The new standards will modernize the system of classifying maple syrup by grade and color by adding taste descriptions.

Grade based on light transmission and quality standards

Like the old system, the new grading system uses the most common method, light transmission, to classify maple syrup. The degree of light transmission is measured using a spectrophotometer.

In addition to color, maple syrup is classified according to category and must meet specific quality characteristics.

Former grading system (no longer in effect after December 2016 for companies with a registration number that export maple syrup and after December 2017 for companies that only sell in Quebec)

Category

Percentage of light transmission

sirop_extra-clair Extra light

100% – 75%

sirop_clair Light

74.9% – 60.5%

sirop_medium Medium

60.4% – 44%

sirop_ambre Amber

43.9% – 27%

sirop_fonce Dark

26.9% and under

New grading system

The new grading system comes into effect in

  • December 2016 for companies with a registration number that export maple syrup.
  • December 2017 for companies that only sell in Quebec.

This grading system divides maple syrup into two grades (Grade A and Processing Grade) and four color classes.

“Canada Grade A” (for companies with a registration number that export maple syrup)

“Grade A” (for companies that only sell in Quebec)

Class

Light transmission

Characteristics

Logo Sirop extra-clairGolden, delicate taste

75% and over

  • Made only from concentrated maple sap or by diluting or dissolving a maple product other than maple sap in potable water
  • Is clean, healthy, and edible
  • Has a minimum of 66% and a maximum of 68.9% soluble solids
  • Does not ferment
  • Is a clear, uniform color
  • Has no objectionable odor or taste
  • Has the maple flavor characteristic of its color class

sirop_ambreAmber, rich taste

Between 50% and 74.9%

sirop_fonceDark, robust taste

Between 25% and 49.9%

sirop_tres-fonceVery dark, strong taste

Less than 25%

 

 

“Canada Processing Grade” (for companies with a registration number that export maple syrup)

“Processing Grade” (for companies that only sell in Quebec)

Characteristics

  • Made only from concentrated maple sap or by diluting or dissolving a maple product other than maple sap in potable water
  • Is clean, healthy, and edible
  • Has a minimum of 66% and a maximum of 68.9% soluble solids
  • Does not qualify for Grade A

Choosing a maple syrup is a matter of taste

No matter what the grade, maple syrup is a 100% natural product. Maple syrup is a high quality product and each person appreciates the aroma and flavor in their own way. The grade is not related to how much you will enjoy the taste. That’s up to each consumer and how they are planning to use the maple syrup.

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