Health and Safety

Change in Maple Syrup regulations.

Hello all you maple syrup lovers. So it looks like there are going to be some changes in the maple syrup regulations. Who knows when that is going to happen but we at sap to syrup want to give you the whole story on what the proposed changes are, this was taken directly off of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website:

The elements of the proposal to modernize the grading, the classification systems and the labelling requirements for maple syrup that would be considered under the MPR are:

1. Definition and Requirements for Maple Syrup
The definition of maple syrup would be worded to ensure consistency and uniformity with other regulatory regimes by requiring that the maple syrup be produced exclusively by the concentration of maple sap or by the solution or dilution of a pure maple product other than maple sap in potable water.
The proposed framework would maintain the current minimum soluble solid content of 66.0% and would add the maximum soluble solids of 68.9%.

This is basically means there is a top and bottom number to solubility of maple syrup. It makes sense to have a number that there is a ceiling now. It is going to be a bit more challenging to fit right in that range but it will make a more consistent product. Also if you like think think syrup than I am sorry the government will not let us sell you any, so there is that.

2. Grade Standards
An international maple syrup standard would be adopted to include only two grade standards (Grade A and Processing Grade) to replace the current three (Canada No. 1, Canada No. 2 and Canada No. 3) as defined in sections 4, 15, 16 and 19 of Schedule I, of the MPR.
The grade could also be accompanied by taste descriptors to reflect consumer preference, such as for good-quality darker syrup. Such darker syrup would no longer be required to be graded and labelled as Canada No. 3.
Grade A maple syrup would be comprised of four unique colour classes and the following requirements would need to be met:
Uniform in colour
Intensity of flavour (taste) normally associated with the colour class
Free from objectionable odours, off-flavours, and fermentation
Free from turbidity or sediment
Processing Grade maple syrup would require to be labelled “For Food Processing”. It could be any maple syrup that does not meet Grade A requirements. Processing Grade maple syrup could have any of the following attributes:
May be any colour class and any light transmittance
May contain off-flavours**
May be very strong tasting syrup
**Off-flavours are defined as any specific and identifiable or unidentifiable flavour or smell defect that is not normally found in good quality pure maple syrup that may be related to natural factors (i.e. woody, buddy) or the production, handling, or storage (i.e. burnt, chemical, mould) of the maple syrup.

So now there are two classes of syrup instead of three. Makes sense to me, it is either perfect or it is process grade.

3. Colour Classification and Taste Descriptors
Four colour classes (Golden, Amber, Dark, and very Dark) would replace the current five (Extra Light, Light, Medium, Amber and Dark). Light transmittance classes have also been adjusted for syrups with a light transmittance less than 75% Tc (as described below). Four taste descriptors (Delicate, Rich, Robust and Strong) normally associated with the colours could complete the label. The taste descriptors could be used to assist consumers and ingredient users in matching their syrup purchases with their specific preferences or needs.
The quality descriptors and a general description of each of the four colour classes of Grade A maple syrup could be as follows:
Golden Colour and Delicate Taste
Maple syrup in this class has a light to more pronounced golden colour and a delicate or mild taste. Light transmittance is not less than 75% Tc.
Amber Colour and Rich Taste
Maple syrup in this class has a light, medium or darker amber colour and a rich or full-bodied taste. Light transmittance is 50 to 74.9% Tc.
Dark Colour and Robust Taste
Maple syrup in this class has a dark colour and a more robust or stronger taste than syrup in lighter colour classes. Light transmittance is 25 to 49.9% Tc.
Very Dark Colour and Strong Taste
Maple syrup in this class has a very strong taste. Light transmittance is less than 25% Tc.

So they are moving from 5 different types of syrup to 4 which seems to make things a bit easier for labeling. I don’t really know about the word “Golden” it makes that class of maple syrup sound lit it is the best when it really is not. It should also be said that to make light or “Golden Syrup” you have to boil it down really fast. You can also use an R.O. machine to help make more “Golden”. Basically only the really large producers with a huge amount of infrastructure have the best chance to make this type of syrup. We will have to see what happens in the future but I like “light syrup” rather than “Golden”. I think it reflects what it is without needlessly making it sound better than it is.
Also the Taste description is something else that seems to be a bit of overkill. There are already a TON of regulations on how to label maple syrup. Would we have to put all of this information on each bottle? Do we only need to have the description that is associated with what is in the bottle? Maple syrup bottles are going to start looking like news channels with so much information that you don’t even read it, you simple glaze over. If you also have to label the your bottles with a description verbatim it would be a bit much. We know how to sell our syrup, We know a description that will work for our demographic and our customers. If there is anything I have learned from working it the advertising industry is that committees make stupid decisions. I don’t want to have to stamp my product with something a bunch a bureaucrats came up with, it cheapens our product!

4. Traceability
All graded maple syrup would require mandatory production codes to production lots on the label to quickly identify, respond to and advise the CFIA of potentially unsafe maple products.

Again is this a bit of overkill? We have our address on each bottle of maple syrup, we also have our website which lets anyone get in contact with us. We also have social media. We also put a batch number on each of our products and take pictures of us making our maple syrup. We want to be 100% transparent to our customers, if you have any concerns we want to hear them.  So what are these production codes going to look like? Where do we get a production lot number? There are a few unknowns that could potentially be a big pain in the ass.

5. Country or Province of Origin
All graded maple syrup would require mandatory country or province of origin on the label.

We already do this so sure.
If you have any other questions about these regulation your not alone. Mainly for us is the timing, which directly effects what we are going to do for this year in terms of bottles and labels. We talked to the head of the OMSPA and he told us they are not going to take effect this year but the deadline for comments is December 7th, 2012 so is it going to pass in January? Please take some time to visit the CFIA website. I urge you send some feedback to the government on this issues, tell them what you think because we are going to do the same.

Thanks for reading!

 


Maple Syrup: How Can Something This Sweet Be Good For Me?

Lets start off with how good Maple Syrup Tastes. We At Saptosyrup could only sum it up with Total Awesomeness.

If you have a sweet tooth the pleasing Maple Flavour accompanied buy the infused wood smoke (of wood fired syrup Saptosyrup’s favourite kind to make and eat) has a way of bringing you back to the simple enjoyments of life. If you haven’t tasted Maple Syrup before you are missing out on the thick mouth watering Natural Healthy Maple Goodness.

How Healthy Is Maple Syrup?

Well Friends… Its ok to put a little More in that Coffee, or on your Pancakes, in your Cake and Muffin Mix, and for Wherever you use white cane sugar/molasses/brown sugar….. Because Its actually a Super Food Full of Healthy Ingredients Mother Nature has snuck into the mix.

Here is some of the Benefits..

Zinc:  The Health of our Hearts is , excuse the pun but close to our hearts. So if you have your Hearts Health in mind and a Sweet Tooth then Maple Syrup is right up your ally.

I found the following at website  http://www.whfoods.com

The zinc supplied by maple syrup, in addition to acting as an antioxidant, has other functions that can decrease the progression of atherosclerosis. Zinc is needed for the proper function of endothelial cells and helps to prevent the endothelial damage caused by oxidized LDL cholesterol and other oxidized fats. (The endothelium is the inner lining of blood vessels.) Endothelial membranes low in zinc are much more prone to injury. Additionally, studies have found that in adults deficient in manganese, the other trace mineral amply supplied in maple syrup, the level of HDL (the “good” cholesterol) is decreased.

Manganese:  In trace amounts is part of the mix that helps Enzymes Important in the Production of Energy  and Antioxidant Defences.  The following found on the site http://www.whfoods.com

The key oxidative enzyme superoxide dismutase, which disarms free radicals produced within the mitochondria (the energy production factories within our cells), requires manganese. One ounce of maple syrup supplies 22.0% of the daily value for this very important trace mineral.”Immune System Boost: Zinc and Manganese support the functions of our Immune systems. Especially in Children. Wow it should be Easy to get Kids to Enjoy Building their Immune Systems to help them grow Healthy and Strong.

Zinc deficiencies studied have been linked to the number of White Blood Cells that are part of a Healthy Immune System.

Manganese is Very Important because of the Anti-inflammatory Properties, and it Promotes Healing. It also acts like an Immunostimulant.

Nice.. So you can Have your Maple Syrup and be Heathy Too.

 

Mens Health: Guess what its Sweet for the Love Life too.  Zinc for your D—  (interesting way to say it but its  rhyme i heard from an old farmer)  Its also believed to help Support  actual Reproductive Health for Men. Zinc’s Highest Concentration is found in the Prostate and at low levels it puts men at greater risk of Cancer of the Prostrate.

Manganese also has a Support role to the Production of Hormones that participate in the Reproductive Health of men.

Nutrient Analysis:

Based on two tea spoons total weight 13.33g

Calories–34.80 —-% DV–1.93

Calories from fat–0.24

Calories from Saturated fat–0.04

Carbohydrates–8.95 —-%DV–2.98

Sugar- total—7.94g

Other carbs–1.01g

Fat total–0.03g —-%DV–0.05

Mono fat–0.04

Poly fat–0.04

 

Minerals and Daily values.

Calcium–8.93mg —-%DV–0.89

Chromium–0.33mg —-%DV–0.28

Copper–0.01mg —-%DV–0.50

Iron–0.16mg —-%DV–0.89

Magnesium–1.87mg —-%DV–0.47

Manganese–0.44mg —-%DV–22.00

Phosphorus–0.27mg —-%DV–0.03

Potassium–27.20mg —-%DV–0.78

Selenium–0.08mcg —-%DV–0.11

sodium–1.20mg —-%DV–0.05

Zinc–0.55mg —-%DV–3.62

It even has trace amounts of OMEGA 6 fatty acids@0.01g

Check out the comparison to white sugar. Big Difference. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/sweets/5592/2

Some More Good News Now studies are being done with Type 2 Diabetes and Maple Syrup as well. Makes Good Sense.

So There It Is:  Some of the Healthy Facts about the Sweet Nectar of The Gods.

We at Saptosyrup  Challenge YOU, to a Taste Test. Generic cane sugar made table syrup or corn syrup as compared with Maple Syrup.  Let us know on Facebook or comment on this post. We Would Like to Hear from You, our Friends and Members of the Syrup Enlightenment.

I’m Sure You will Taste a Major Difference.


Lean Mean and Clean

So it has been pretty cold up here the last couple of days. No sap is running at all but I have a feeling that this is only the calm before the storm.

It has been a pretty long time since I posted anything but there has been so much work to do all the time. We spent the last few days cleaning everything, a clean sugarshack makes for happy syrup.

We finished cleaning both Chuck and Burns, the extractor, the gravity tank and everything else. I am relearning that when everything freezes it makes doing anything a lot more difficult. Take for example pumping up our back tanks to the gravity tank. We had a great little system set up with valves that turn tanks on and off. When this system froze however it became useless so Mike completely cut all of it away and installed one line that went directly into the tank.

Simple is good.

We also got a huge jump on Fire wood. It takes a ton of wood to make Maple syrup and we sure hauled out a ton of it. I leaned how to be a hooker! It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it. The job entails following the guy driving the tractor and looping a chain around the log and hooking up to the tow bar. The hooker than follows the log as it is dragged out of the bush, if the log comes off the hooker hooks the log back up again. When the log is taken to the place it is going to bucked up the hooker release the log. The logic behind the position is to keep the guy driving the tractor from having to get on and off of it . You do a lot of running in the job, something I could stand to do a bit of.

A really interesting effect that we noticed from the freshly cut trees was the icicles forming out of sap on the ends of the logs. These “sap-cles” formed very quickly and were a very sweet treat.

More to come soon.


Science

Of course this is not very accurate but funny none the less.


Wanted poster

Hey Mike great post on the new scourge of the sugar bush. I agree Completely:

Wanted Poster Garlic Mustard

Some Posts to Recipes:

http://www.ma-eppc.org/morerecipes.html

http://www.fosc.org/GM-Recipe.htm

I love what these guys are doing:

http://www.patapscoheritagegreenway.org/garlic07/index.html


A New Enemy In Our Midst

A new enemy has emerged for Maple Syrup producers. It sneaks into the sugar bush without the producers knowledge, it takes hold of the precious nutrients in the soil and slowly kills the team players will to produce sap, it multiplies rapidly and without warning, before anyone can do anything the invading army has imposed its will upon the land. But its edible.

I am refering to the invasive species, Garlic Mustard. In the recent weeks a few articles have described the new found threat discovered on St Joe that has the Maple Syrup industry worried. Garlic Mustard is an edible plant brought over by European settlers for gardens and has since escaped the boundaries of rock and wire to roam freely about the province.

It seems garlic mustard produces toxins that contaminate the soil hampering the trees ability to grow and produce sap, at the same time multiply rapidly to out compete the native vegetation. After a few years the area invaded is dominated by the plant. It is a tough one to get rid of because of the fact when the plant is broken or cut off it is able to regrow quickly below the cut line and when left to its own devices can produce large amounts of seeds and destroy the ecosystem invaded. The seeds can remain viable in the soil for up to 5 years.

I haven’t had chance to do any patrols in the sugar bush yet but rest assured if any of these edible little devils make an appearance in Sap To Syrup’s slice of heaven they will end up in my kitchen.

Maple Producers Beware

Enjoy

Mike


Lead testing part II

I have given each company I emailed  some time to respond and here are the results.

The first person to email me back was Dave Lachance from lead inspector, he responded on the weekend with the following:

“hello dave,
thanks for the email and your inquiry.
the kits would be great to test the solder for lead.
regards,
dave lachance”

Not a huge response but it was a positive one, he also responded the quickest.

The second response was from Jennifer McIntyre from homax who simply emailed me back that they no longer carry this product.

Other than that I have not heard from anyone else. As it stands now I am ordering the Abotex lead inspector but I will continue to look for other ways to test for lead.

If anyone has information they think would be helpful please feel free to leave a comment.


Lead testing part I

Mike and I are in the process right now of upgrading our equipment so that we can bring more of the sweet nectar of the Gods to you.

The problem with a lot of the used evaporator pans out there is that they are lead soldered which is considered to be a health risk.

We want to provide our consumers with the best quality product that we can so I thought I would post some of the research that I have done in this respect.

First I found this great consumer report.

http://blogs.consumerreports.org/safety/2007/10/testing-the-lea.html

It rates 4 different lead inspectors and how they work, the following is taken from the consumer reports website:

Homax Lead Check, $8
Lead Check Household Lead Test Kit, $18.45
These two kits consist of cigarette-shaped swabs, made by the same company, that turn pink when they detect lead. They were the easiest to use and identified accessible lead in toys, ceramic dishware, and vinyl or plastic. If lead concentrations are low, these swabs can take up to two hours to change color, but in our tests high concentrations produced immediate results. The eight-swab Lead Check Household Lead Test Kit pack is a better bargain than the Homax two-swab pack. Its packaging was less susceptible to being crushed.

Lead Inspector, $13
Swabs turn yellow, brown, gray, or black if lead is detected. It can take up to 10 minutes for a color change to occur at low lead levels. The kit, with eight tests, identified accessible lead and might be a good choice for painted metal jewelry. It also might be superior for pink or red items, because if those shades of paint bled onto a Lead Check swab, it might falsely appear to be positive. Have good ventilation and wear gloves to protect skin from chemicals.

First Alert, $13
The four test swabs provided are similar in design to those used in Lead Inspector. But we experienced some false negatives for accessible lead.

Pro-Lab Lead Surface, $10

This kit was less sensitive and more difficult to use. Two small pieces of treated paper are cut to create six tests. The paper is moistened and rubbed on the object, but we found the paper often fell apart before the two-minute rubbing time was over.

Both Lead Inspector and First Alert have videos which showcase these kits

The following is a copy of the email I sent to all the these lead testing kit suppliers:

Hello

My name is Dave Chapman and I am a maple syrup producer. Over the past few years our industry has been phasing out lead soldered pans for producing maple syrup.

We are currently looking to upgrade our equipment but want to make certain that any used equipment  we buy is lead solder free.

does the testing kit that you carry have the ability to do this.

Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon.

If anyone out there knows of another company that provides these testing kits or you have had experience in these matters please let us know.