As we’ve written before, the people of Vermont take their maple syrup very seriously. Just ask the Rhode Island man who has been sentenced to two years of probation for selling plain old cane sugar syrup as authentic stuff from the Green Mountain State.
The case goes back to 2009, reports the Boston Globe, when a man from Vermont paid $220.50 in an online auction for what had been advertised as real Vermont maple syrup.
But as just about anyone who has compared authentic maple syrup with what most of us drown our Eggos in, the two products look and taste quite different from each other.
The man asked the Vermont Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Protection to test his purchase to confirm it was indeed made from cane sugar.
At this point it became a matter for the FDA and the USDA, which eventually located the man and found he was making his own cane sugar syrup out of his home in Rhode Island.
He was arrested last fall and entered a guilty plea in a federal court on Tuesday. The judge, saying the man “capitalized on the market appeal of Vermont maple syrup,” sentenced him to two years of probation for “introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead.”
He also faces several hundred dollars in fines for his action.
In early 2011, McDonald’s found itself in hot water with Vermont for selling a “fruit and maple oatmeal” item that didn’t use actual maple syrup.
And it’s not just Vermont that wants to crack down on “maple” syrup. Last October, U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both of New York, sponsored a bill that would make it a felony — punishable by up to five years in prison — to label a product “maple syrup” if isn’t actually made from maple syrup.