Vermont Maple Producers Ask FDA To Crack Down On Misleading 'Maple' Labeling

Feb 17, 2016

Vermont maple producers are protesting foods labeled as "maple" or "maple-flavored" that don't actually contain the real thing.  

The Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association and nine other producers’ groups sent the Food and Drug Administration a letter requesting federal enforcement action to either remove the maple branding from the products or have the companies add maple syrup to them.

“[These foods] have a product used to mimic the flavor of maple, through either fenugreek seeds or the ground bark of the mountain maple tree. In those cases it is natural … but it’s not what we believe people think they are buying,” says Matt Gordon, the executive director of the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association.

“They think there’s maple syrup in it, not ground-up tree bark," he says.

Gordon says he’s seen a rise in products labeled “maple.” Beyond being deceptive for consumers, he says producers want to “protect what pure maple syrup is, and protect that as a flavor so it doesn’t become a generic flavor.”

Gordon says with consumers becoming increasingly interested in truth in labeling and being aware of what goes into their bodies, it felt like good timing to address this issue nationally.

So far, he says there has not been an official response from the FDA.