Moving Forward Through Innovation

MONTREAL, Feb. 8, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - As it gears up for the approaching 2012 harvest, the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers has been investing in developing reliable, state-of-the-art tools that use cutting-edge technology to guarantee the quality and authenticity of maple syrup during the grading process. One of these new tools is an electronic tongue that uses optical spectroscopy to analyze a sample of maple syrup. This "SpectreAcer" is being developed in cooperation with Centre Acer and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

With the recent good news about maple in the health columns, made possible through significant investment and innovation efforts by maple producers, more and more people worldwide have been turned on to maple products. To prevent consumers from being duped by sellers looking to boost their profits with a counterfeit product, this tool has shown strong potential in detecting flavour defects, adulteration and presence of foreign sugars in maple syrup and sap, with 98% accuracy.

"In good years and bad, some 200,000 barrels are graded and inspected by fifteen teams who travel to Federation and buyers' warehouses. This new tool will provide an efficient, reliable, affordable and user-friendly way to analyze multiple characteristics of syrup at the same time. In 2012, we are devoting resources to test two of these devices and hope to develop fifteen of them next year—one for each team of syrup inspectors. We intend to continue improving them and using them across our industry, putting Quebec products far ahead of their competitors in terms of quality control. In addition, a draft regulation for controlling maple syrup quality in the retail market will soon be in the works, as maple producers have requested from the FPAQ. Authorized maple syrup buyers here and abroad who buy barrels of syrup must be assured the Quebec product is pure. We will be the only ones who can prove this" says Serge Beaulieu, FPAQ president.

Quebec law requires every single barrel of maple syrup produced in the province to be graded and inspected. This does not cover maple syrup sold in small formats, though. To be sure they are buying 100% pure maple syrup, consumers must read the label and the ingredient list.

Coming soon
The International Maple Syrup Institute (IMSI), a forum for stakeholders in the North American maple industry, has developed a proposal for aligning international maple syrup grading standards. The Federation participated in these discussions and agrees with the consensus.

The prime advantage of this proposal is that it requires maple syrup be graded, ensuring syrups with off-flavours are not bottled. This requirement, among others, already exists for bulk maple syrup in Quebec. The majority of producers here is already on the leading edge in terms of quality control. This proposal will have very little impact on them. Most producers in other provinces or states do not have the same history of quality control and will have to adapt to these quality standards.

About the FPAQ
The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers was founded in 1966 with the mission of defending and promoting the economic, social and moral interests of its 7,400 maple businesses. These men and women are working together to collectively market their products. The quality of their work and their products has made Quebec the producer of close to 80% of today's global maple syrup output.


For further information:

Johannie Coiteux
Promotion and Communications Agent

Anne-Marie Granger Godbout
Executive Director
Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers
450 679-0540 ext. 8330

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