Watch out, mock maple syrup makers: it's about to get a lot harder to pass off a knock-off as the bona-fide Canadian breakfast-table staple.
After nearly a decade of talks among governments, food regulators and the industry, new rules are being adopted across North America to ensure consumers have a better idea of what kind of maple syrup they're buying.
The changes, which will come into effect over the next two years, will harmonize the grading system for maple syrup produced in Canada and the United States.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is also adopting a new system for classing pure maple syrup by colour.
And labels will include new "flavour descriptors" so consumers can get a better idea of how the various shades of syrup are likely to vary in taste.
Earlier this summer, the CFIA said changes are needed to "modernize" the way maple syrup is classified, and that the International Maple Syrup Institute has asked for the changes.
Maple syrups labelled "No. 1" often sell best, Canadian syrup sellers say — even though consumers generally prefer the richer taste of "Canada No. 2."
Senator Nancy Greene Raine says the new regulations will also help marketers of pure maple products crack down on fraudsters who sell maple syrup that is often little more than flavoured sugar water.
Canada makes more than 80 per cent of the world's supply of maple syrup, with the U.S. producing the rest.