USDA adopts new maple grading standards

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United States Standards
for Grades of Maple
Syrup
Effective March 2, 2015
Voluntary U.S. grade standards are issued under the authority of the Agricultural
Marketing Act of 1946, which provides for the development of official U.S. grades to
designate different levels of quality. These grade standards are available for use by
producers, suppliers, buyers, and consumers. As in the case of other standards for
grades of fresh and processed fruits, vegetables, and specialty crops these
standards are designed to facilitate orderly marketing by providing a convenient
basis for buying and selling, for establishing quality control programs, and for
determining loan values.
The U.S. grade standards and inspection instructions for all fresh and processed fruits,
vegetables, and specialty crops are available on the internet and upon request at the
address below. These documents provide detailed interpretations of the grade standards
and provide step-by-step procedures for grading the product.
Grade standards are issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) after careful
consideration of all data and views submitted during rulemaking. The Department
welcomes suggestions for improving the standards in future revisions. Comments may be
submitted to, and copies of standards and inspection instructions obtained from:
Director, Specialty Crops Inspection Division
Fruit and Vegetable Program,
USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service
1400 Independence Avenue, SW, STOP 0240
Washington, D.C. 20250
__________________________________________________________________________
Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1621-1627.
Note:
Compliance with the provisions of these standards shall not excuse failure to
comply with the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or
with applicable State laws and regulations.
Non-Discrimination Policy: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers,
employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender
identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual
orientation, or all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic
information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases
will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.) To File an Employment Complaint: If you wish to file an
employment complaint, you must contact your agency's EEO Counselor (PDF) within 45 days of the date of the alleged
discriminatory act, event, or in the case of a personnel action. Additional information can be found online at
http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_file.html. To File a Program Complaint: If you wish to file a Civil Rights
program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF), found online at
http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form.
You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or
letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at [email protected] Persons with
Disabilities: Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities and you wish to file either an EEO or
program complaint please contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339 or (800) 845-6136 (in
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us by mail directly or by email. If you require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., braille,
large print, audiotape, etc.) please contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).
United States Standards for Grades of Maple Syrup
Section
Page No.
§52.5961
Product description. ..................................................................................... 2
§52.5962
Grades. ........................................................................................................ 2
§52.5963
Recommended Fill of Container. ................................................................. 2
§52.5964
Color. ........................................................................................................... 3
§52.5965
Classification Requirements. ....................................................................... 3
§52.5966
Explanation of Terms. .................................................................................. 4
§52.5967
Determining the Grade of a Lot. .................................................................. 5
§52.5968
Reserved. .................................................................................................... 5
United States Standards for Grades of Maple Syrup (March 2, 2015)
1
§52.5961
Product description.
Maple syrup is the liquid food derived by concentrating and heat treating sap from the
maple tree (Acer) as defined in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Standards
of Identity for Maple Sirup (21 CFR 168.140) issued under the Federal Food, Drug, and
Cosmetic Act. The solids content of the finished maple syrup shall not be less 66
percent by weight (Brix).
§52.5962
(a)
(b)
(c)
Grades.
U.S. Grade A is the quality of maple syrup that:
(1)
Not more than 68.9 percent solids content by weight (Brix);
(2)
Has good uniform color;
(3)
Has good flavor and odor, and intensity of flavor (maple taste) normally
associated with the color class;
(4)
Is free from off flavors and odors considered as damage;
(5)
Is free from cloudiness, turbidity, sediment, and is clean;
(6)
No deviants for damage shall be allowed in Grade A.
Maple syrup for processing (Processing Grade) means any maple syrup that
does not meet Grade A requirements, but meets the requirement of Processing
Grade for use in the manufacturing of other products. Maple syrup for
processing must be packed in containers of 5 gallons or 20 liters or larger.
Processing Grade maple syrup cannot be packaged in consumer-size containers
for retail sales (containers of less than 5 gallons).
(1)
May be any color class and any light transmittance; and not more than
68.9 percent solids content by weight (Brix);
(2)
May contain off flavors; and odors;
(3)
May have a very strong taste.
Substandard is the quality of maple syrup that fails to meet the requirements of
Processing Grade maple syrup.
§52.5963
Recommended Fill of Container.
The amount that a container is filled is not a requirement since the fill of a container is
not a quality factor. It is, however, recommended that each container be filled with
United States Standards for Grades of Maple Syrup (March 2, 2015)
2
syrup as full as practicable and that the product occupy at least 90 percent of the
volume of the container.
§52.5964
Color.
General. The color class of maple syrup is determined by:
(a)
The percent of light transmission through the syrup as measured with a
spectrophotometer using matched square optical cells having a 10mm light path
at a wavelength of 560 nm. The color value is expressed as percent of light
transmission as compared to analytical reagent glycerol fixed at 100 percent.
Percent transmission is symbolized by “%Tc.”
(b)
Any method that provides equivalent results.
When certifying the color of a sample that has been officially drawn and which
represents a specific lot of maple syrup, if the number of color deviants exceeds the
acceptance number in the appropriate sampling plan, the lot should be designated as
mixed color.
§52.5965
(a)
Classification Requirements.
“Grade A” classification.
(1)
Possesses a good maple flavor (taste) characteristic of the color;
(2)
Is clean, free from turbidity or cloudiness, and free from off flavors and
odors;
(3)
Has good uniform color, which means the syrup color is bright and
typical of maple syrup.
“Grade A” Maple syrup has four color and flavor classes
Color classes are associated with specific %Tc values as follows:
Grade A
Color Classes
Taste
Light Transmittance
(% Tc)
U.S. Grade A Golden
Delicate
> 75.0
U.S. Grade A Amber
Rich
50.0-74.9
U.S. Grade A Dark
Robust
25.0-49.9
U.S. Grade A Very Dark
Strong
< 25.0
United States Standards for Grades of Maple Syrup (March 2, 2015)
3
(b)
“Processing Grade” classification. Fails to meet the requirements of Grade
A, but possesses a fairly good characteristic maple taste and may contain offflavors, but is fairly free of damage, fairly free of turbidity or cloudiness, and is
fairly clean.
(c)
Substandard classification. Maple syrup that fails to meet the requirements of
paragraph (b) of this section shall not be graded above Substandard.
§52.5966
Explanation of Terms.
(a)
Brix is the percentage by weight concentration of total soluble solids (mainly
sugar), of maple syrup when tested with a refractometer calibrated at 68
degrees Fahrenheit and to which any applicable temperature correction has
been made; or by any other method which gives equivalent results.
(b)
Buddy flavor or buddiness (classified as damage), is a disagreeable flavor
characteristic of syrup when sap is collected from maple trees as they come
out of dormancy. This flavor can be described as tasting chocolaty to bitter
chocolaty.
(c)
Clean means that the syrup is free from foreign material such as pieces of
bark, soot, dust, or dirt.
(d)
Damage means any defects that materially affect the appearance, edibility, or
quality of the syrup. Badly scorched syrup, buddy syrup, fermented syrup, or
syrup that has any off flavors or odors shall be considered as damage.
(e)
Fermentation (classified as damage), means the chemical breakdown of a
substance by bacteria, yeasts, molds, or other microorganisms.
(f)
Light Transmittance (Tc) means the ability of a liquid to transmit light as
determined optically by means of a spectrophotometer.
(g)
Off-flavor or off-odor (classified as damage), means any specific and
identifiable or unidentifiable flavor or odor defect that is not normally found in
Grade A maple syrup. These flavors or odors may be related to natural factors
(e.g., woody or buddy), to manufacturing practices (e.g., burnt, chemical,
fermented, scorched), or caused by the presence of any disagreeable flavor or
odor that may have developed during handling or storage.
(h)
Taste means the intensity of maple flavor. The descriptors for the taste of
Grade A Maple Syrup are as follows:
(1)
Delicate means mild maple taste.
(2)
Rich means a full-bodied maple taste of medium intensity.
United States Standards for Grades of Maple Syrup (March 2, 2015)
4
(i)
(3)
Robust means stronger maple taste than the lighter colors.
(4)
Strong means a maple taste that is stronger than robust.
Turbidity or cloudiness means the presence, in the suspension, of fine particles
of mineral matter such as malate of lime, niter, sugar sand, calcium malate, or
other substance that detract from the clearness of the syrup.
(1)
Malate of lime means fine particles of mineral matter in maple syrup.
(2)
Sugar sand or niter generally means a harmless gritty substance
naturally found in maple syrup, and is often referred to as cloudiness.
(3)
Calcium malate results from high calcium and malic acid concentrations
in the syrup and is one of the least soluble salts in the syrup.
§52.5967
Determining the Grade of a Lot.
The grade of a lot of maple syrup covered by these standards is determined by the
procedures in the Regulations Governing Inspection and Certification of Processed
Fruits and Vegetables, Processed Products Thereof, and Certain Processed Food
Products (7 CFR 52.1 through 52.83).
§52.5968
Reserved.
United States Standards for Grades of Maple Syrup (March 2, 2015)
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