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Caledonian Record: Effort Afoot To Ban False Use Of ‘Maple’

March 14, 2016
In The News

Vermont’s Congressional Delegation is working to establish sanctions on big companies who advertise that their products contain “maple” when, in fact, they contain no actual maple syrup.

Vermont sugarmakers back their efforts 100%.

“[Big companies] are getting a free ride on the hard work of maple producers,” said Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., at Center Hills Maple in Barnet on Saturday morning. “Companies like Kellogg and Quaker should be embarrassed to be taking from hardworking Vermont sugarers.”

On Thursday, Welch, along with Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration outlining their concerns.

“Pure maple syrup production (sugaring) provides income to an estimated 10,000 maple producers across 10 states,” the letter stated. “For some, sugaring is full-time work, while others tap trees to supplement their income, providing an important source of earnings for rural families.”

St. Johnsbury sugarer Jeff Goodwin of Goodwin Family Maple agreed wholeheartedly with Welch. “I’m absolutely for [this legislation],” said Goodwin. “We need to keep the word ‘maple’ away from big companies. It weakens the industry.”

Goodwin has just expanded his farm, having purchased 5,000 new taps from Alan and Lorna Fogg of Center Hills Maple, for a total of 9,000 taps.

“Let’s say you buy some of that Quaker Maple and Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal, which, by the way, doesn’t have any real maple in it,” Goodwin explained. “If you don’t like it, you might decide that you just don’t like maple, and that takes away from our industry in a big way. Maple syrup prices have already slid down. The price of doing business stays the same. My bottom line is getting smaller and smaller every year. Misusing the word doesn’t help our market,” explained Goodwin.

“It’s such a ripoff,” Welch agreed. “If big companies are going to use the word maple, in the prominent advertising they use, they should put real maple in their products. It’s a real threat to the maple industry.”

“[By sanctioning the use of the word,] we are securing the future for myself and my children and my grandchildren, when they get older,” Goodwin said. “We need to keep our market strong. It’s such a part of Vermont.”

Congressman Welch is awaiting a response from the Food and Drug Administration.