What is the Difference Between Organic and Non Organic Maple Syrup

What is the Difference Between Organic and Non Organic Maple Syrup

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     At Acadian Maple, we sell Pure Maple Syrup as well as Certified Organic Pure Maple Syrup. Our organic maple syrup is certified by Quality Assurance International. Organic food products are grown naturally using few or no chemicals, pesticides, radiaton, or genetic engineering. Pure means that there is only one ingredient in each bottle, that being maple syrup. But many people wonder what is the difference between Pure Maple Syrup and Organic Pure Maple Syrup.     

     There are many key differences between the organic and non-organic maple syrup. These differences include where the maple trees are tapped, how the maple trees are tapped, how the sap is collected and stored, and so on. There are more restrictions on how Organic Maple Syrup can be produced compared to conventional maple syrup.  Although different regulatory agencies require and impose different restrictions, there are a few common items that differentiate organic maple syrup and non-organic maple syrup.

     During the Maple Syrup season, which starts in the middle of March, maple syrup producers have selected sites where there are an abundance of maple trees. Small operators have 2000-3000 taps on their sites, while larger operators may have over 150,000 taps on one site. Organic maple syrup producers must ensure the presence of 15% companion species, which means at least 15% of the trees in their wood lot must not be maple. Organic maple syrup producers must also keep maps of all their sites, as well as buffers if they are close to farm land or Christmas tree lots using prohibited materials such as pesticides.

     Organic maple syrup producers are not allowed to cut undergrowth, and their fertilizer use is limited to the occasional use of wood ash, lime, or other allowed fertilizers. Tubing to collect maple syrup must be installed with protectors to avoid damaging maple trees. There are limitations to the size of maple trees that organic maple syrup producers can tap, the trees must have a diameter larger than 20cm at chest height in order to be tapped.

     The only disinfectant allowed, which ensures there is no bacteria in the tap hole when the tree is tapped, for organic maple syrup producers is food grade ethyl alcohol;. Maple
syrup producers normally use a reverse osmosis system to process sap before boiling. This cuts down on labour as well as fuel costs.  Organic maple syrup producers must ensure that no mineral components of sap are removed during this process.  This is generally achieved through the limitation of concentration of the maple sap.  During the time that the sap is boiled, organic maple syrup producers must use only stainless steel pans, and only certified organic oils as de-foamers. During the maple syrup season, only approved chemicals may be used for cleaning these pans, and vinegar or fermented sap may be used at the end of the maple syrup season.

     Production plans, production records, complaint logs, sales records, inventory records, product traceability, and site maps are all required for organic maple syrup producers to keep on file. There is also an annual audit that takes place by the certification body.

     In all, pure maple syrup is organic in the way that is naturally grown and produced with no chemicals, but organic maple syrup is certified organic because there are specific guidelines and regulations that are followed during the process of producing maple syrup to ensure that no chemicals or other inorganic products are used during production.  This extra work, which creates an audit-able paper trail is what demands the higher cost for certified organic pure maple syrup.

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  • William Allaway
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