The Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association and nine other producers’ groups sent the Food and Drug Administration a letter [PDF] saying that some foods have the word “maple” on the label despite not containing the real thing. Such misbranding deceives consumers and hurts those producing real maple syrup, the groups say.
Along with the International Maple Syrup Institute and the North American Maple Syrup Council, the groups asked for a federal enforcement action that would either force companies to get rid of any maple branding from their products if they don’t actually contain the sweetener, or add maple syrup to them to make the labels true, reports the Associated Press.
“This unchecked misbranding has an adverse impact on manufacturers of products containing real maple syrup, as it allows cheaper products not containing premium ingredients to compete with those actually containing maple syrup,” the letter said. “Further, it deceives consumers into believing they are purchasing a premium product when, in fact, they have a product of substantially lower quality.”
In the letter, the groups call out nine products as examples of items that are misbranded, including Quaker Oats Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal and Hood maple walnut ice cream. Those products are misbranded in violation of FDA regulations, the letter says, because maple syrup is not listed on their labels.
Quaker Oats had no comment on the accusations and a Hood spokeswoman couldn’t confirm to the AP whether the ice cream gets its flavor from real maple syrup or not.
The FDA says it’s taking a look at the letter and will respond directly to the groups.
Maple syrup producers: Fake flavors nothing like the real thing [Associated Press]