Vermont Adopts International Grading Standards for Pure Maple Products

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New maple syrup labeling system provides descriptive grading standards.

For Vermont’s maple producers, 2013 was the industry’s best year yet with a 76% growth in the maple crop since the previous year, and 2014 brings even more positive changes for one of the state’s most lucrative industries. In order to maintain consistency among maple products and reduce consumer confusion, a new international maple syrup grading standard has been introduced and will be implemented in Vermont beginning in January 2014. Previously, Canada and the United States used separate grading systems, and Vermont had its very own, which was oftentimes difficult for consumers to understand.

“By adopting these international grading standards, Vermont can compete much more readily on a global scale,” said Matthew Gordon, executive director of the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association (VMSMA). “Vermont producers will continue to offer high-quality maple products, but without some of the confusion the previous standards created. This is great news for the state’s maple industry.”

In Vermont, the previous grading system consisted of five different grades: Grade A Light Amber, Grade A Medium Amber, Grade A Dark Amber, Grade B (sometimes called Grade A Extra Dark) and Commercial Grade.

The new international system contains four grades for Grade A maple syrup: Grade A Golden/Delicate Taste, Grade A Amber/Rich Taste, Grade A Dark/Robust Taste and Grade A Very Dark/Strong Taste. It also designates a Processing Grade, which is maple syrup with objectionable odors or flavors that may not be packaged or sold directly to consumers.

“We are in constant contact with our customers at farmers markets, retail shows and at the sugarhouse, and are very excited about introducing the new grade classifications to them,” said Pam Green, a Vermont sugar maker. “The new flavor and color descriptors will make purchasing maple syrup easier for our customers and we know they’re looking foreword to this change as well.”

Consumers can rest assured that these changes are in name only, and the products themselves will remain exactly the same. Vermont will continue to have stricter density and flavor standards than most of its competitors, and producers can continue to use their own marketing labels in addition to the new standards. Although Vermont will no longer have its own set of grades, its reputation as the leading maple producer in the nation will undoubtedly continue to give the Green Mountain State the competitive edge.

To learn more about the VMSMA, please visit

About The Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association:

The Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association (VMSMA) was founded in 1893, making it one of the oldest non-governmental agricultural organizations in the United States. VMSMA is headquartered in South Royalton, Vermont, with over 900 members throughout the state. The mission of the association is to preserve the sugaring tradition in Vermont, educate consumers about maple products, and promote Vermont maple sugarhouses and products. The association is made up of Vermont maple sugar makers and maple packers who are dedicated to producing the highest quality maple syrup products. Membership is also open to non-producers through the “Friends of Vermont Maple” program.

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Rebekah Grim
People Making Good PR
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