Certified organic maple syrup makes up 26% of Quebec’s annual production.
As of 2016, the province had 478 certified organic producers.
They produced close to 34 million pounds of maple syrup.
The growing demand for organic maple syrup is drawing a lot of interest, both from buyers and producers. To become an organic producer, there are basically three steps to follow.
Step 1: Find out the requirements for organic certification
Organic maple syrup standards relate to the following:
- Sugar bush management
- Plant diversity
- Pest control
- Tap management
- Sap collection and processing
Every Step in the Production Process Is Checked
All certified maple syrup producers must adhere to organic standards. Records must be kept on every step in the maple syrup production process.
- Sugar bush maintenance and management
- Sap collection, storage, and processing
- Allowable substances for equipment cleaning
- Allowable antifoaming agents
- Materials used for barrels and tanks
- Storage of maple syrup and maple syrup products
Representatives of certification programs inspect production sites annually and check the records of all certified organic producers to make sure their operations meet the standards. A pre-certification year is also required. To read the complete standards, see the national organic standards website.
Step 2: Contact a certifying body
Quebec has three organic certification bodies with programs for maple syrup. It is up to the maple syrup producer to choose a certifying body, complete the certification process, and cover all costs.
All Quebec certification programs are governed by provincial regulations on reserved designations. The organization that administers Quebec’s Act Respecting Reserved Designations and Value-Added Claims (CQLR c A-20.03)—which covers organic maple syrup production—is the CARTV.
Step 3: Keep the Federation informed
Maple syrup producers must indicate their intention to seek organic certification on the Federation registration form in the fall. Then after completing the certification process, they must give the Federation their certificate demonstrating their compliance with organic production requirements.
To speed up and simplify the process, the Federation will, however, accept organic compliance certificates sent directly from the certifying body provided the producer has signed the information consent form they received at the beginning of the year, thereby giving implicit permission. Certifying bodies are independent of the Federation and therefore need the consent form before they can share information on their clients, including producers.