header

FAQ | Lead (P65)

ONLINE RESOURCES (French only)


An authorized buyer wants me to sign something else. What do I do?

Buyers can always ask for your signature on additional documentation. Your job is to find out what you’re signing up for.

A maple producer is always free to sign something or not to sign. PPAQ and CIE however have agreed on a basic common declaration for P65. It has been incorporated into the registration form all maple producers have to complete every year. Just like we already do for certified organic maple syrup, PPAQ can tell authorized buyers whether or not any given maple syrup operation meets P65 requirements for lead reduction measures.


I signed the declaration in good faith. Can my authorized buyer take me to court?

If you signed the declaration in good faith and diligently and seriously checked to make sure your equipment met P65 standards, and you comply with your undertakings contained in this declaration, you should not be taken to court. Signing in good faith means that you did not knowingly provide false information or fail to make the necessary investigations before you signed.

Authorized buyers will have to sign an agreement not to take legal action against maple producers on that basis.


Last year you told us not to sign anything. Why do we have to sign this declaration now?

The key priority for PPAQ has always been to make sure Quebec maple operators are protected before they sign anything. We simply weren’t satisfied with the proposed wording at that time. And so, on behalf of its 11,300 maple producers, PPAQ decided to get to work on a standardized common declaration that would keep you protected. We negotiated with the purchasers, and an acceptable declaration came about in summer 2019. It has now been incorporated into your registration form that has to be completed every year by all maple producers.

In parallel with the lead reduction measures declaration by maple producers, authorized purchasers will need to release and waive all action or claims against producers arising from statements in the lead reduction declaration, except in a case where the producer knowingly provides false information or clearly neglects to make the necessary investigations before signing.

The release will be incorporated into the annual registration process for authorized buyers and included in all sales agency sales contracts.


Do I have to sign the declaration every year?

Yes, the lead reduction measures declaration has to be signed every year with your registration form. Producers might renovate or replace hardware in the course of the year. So check every year before you sign the declaration to make sure it’s still true for your operation.


I won’t be signing the declaration. What will happen to my maple syrup?

Whether or not your operation complies with the P65 requirements, you can still take your maple syrup to the PPAQ warehouse in Laurierville or to an authorized buyer who doesn’t require P65 It’s up to you whether you sign the lead reduction declaration or not.

It’s worth bearing in mind that PPAQ has no way of knowing what the short‑, medium‑, or long‑term demand might be for maple syrup that doesn’t meet the terms of P65.

For maple syrup to comply with P65 requirements, it has to be part of a chain of production in which every step meets the requirements of P65, from harvest to evaporation to filtration.


Will I get a better price for my maple syrup if I sign the declaration on lead reduction measures?

Producers are free to sign the declaration or not. It’s worth bearing in mind that PPAQ has no way of knowing what the short‑, medium‑, or long‑term demand might be for maple syrup that doesn’t meet the requirements of P65. But supply and demand suggests that when the demand for a product drops, a decline in value may be experienced.


I run a boiling centre where I boil maple water for other producers. Do all of them have to sign the declaration? If one of them hasn’t, what do I do?

If you operate a boiling centre, it’s your responsibility to make sure that every one of the maple syrup producers who sends you maple water has signed the declaration on lead reduction measures.

The maple syrup that comes out of your boiling centre can meet the requirements of P65 only if all the maple water that goes in also meets those requirements.

For maple syrup to comply with P65 requirements, the entire chain of production has to meet the requirements of P65, from harvest to evaporation to filtration.


I have someone else boil my maple water (contract boiling). Do I still need to sign the declaration?

It’s up to you whether or not to sign the lead reduction declaration. It’s worth bearing in mind that QMSP has no way of knowing what the short‑, medium‑, or long‑term demand might be for maple syrup that doesn’t meet the requirements of P65.

If you have your maple water boiled by another producer and sign the lead reduction measures declaration, you need to make sure that the producer who does the boiling for you signs it too.

Otherwise your maple syrup will not meet the requirements of P65.

For maple syrup to comply with P65 requirements, it has to be part of a chain of production in which every step meets the requirements of P65, from harvest to evaporation to filtration.


I don’t produce maple syrup. I tap my trees and sell the maple water. Do I need to sign the lead reduction declaration?

P65 requirements apply to the entire chain of production, from harvest to evaporation and filtration. If the person who buys your maple water wants to meet the requirements of P65, they will need their inputs to meet those requirements. Ultimately, the lead reduction measures declaration is for everyone involved in maple syrup production—including those who sell maple water and those who do the entire production process themselves.


I buy my maple water from my neighbours. Should I make sure they’ve signed the declaration on lead reduction?

To sign the declaration that you meet P65 requirements when you’re using your neighbour’s maple water, your neighbour has to sign it too.

And if your neighbour hasn’t, then the syrup you make from that maple water isn’t P65 compliant.

For maple syrup to comply with P65 requirements, it has to be part of a chain of production in which every step meets the requirements of P65, from harvest to evaporation to filtration.


My maple syrup was tested for lead when it was classified, and it was fine. Why do I still have to comply with P65 and sign the lead reduction declaration?

The Canadian maximum level for lead is 0.5 parts per million (ppm). In Quebec, the maximum level is 0.25 ppm for bulk, as stated in the marketing agreement. If it’s over the 0.25 ppm limit, it has to be disposed of.

Unlike the Quebec marketing agreement, the P65 requirements don’t directly address how much lead there might be in a producer’s maple syrup. They’re essentially about upgrading equipment. Their aim is to eliminate any risk of lead contamination in the production process. That means that whatever level of lead there might be in the maple syrup, P65 compliance requires the following:

1) The equipment must be lead-free as defined in the agreement.

2) Maple syrup processing and production areas must not be exposed to lead-based paint (such as on walls).

3) The syrup must be filtered at a temperature of 180°F or higher.

Even if the maple syrup contains absolutely no lead whatsoever, it will only be considered P65 compliant if it meets those three conditions.


Why is my maple syrup tested for lead when it’s inspected even though I declared that my equipment was P65 compliant?

The PPAQ marketing agreement sets maximum lead levels for any maple syrup sold in bulk in Quebec. This is done independently of the P65 requirements regarding your equipment. Any maple syrup containing more than 0.25 ppm (parts per million) of lead is disposed of.


How much Quebec maple syrup actually goes to California?

The United States is the biggest purchaser of maple products, accounting for two-thirds of Canadian exports. Currently California is the only American state with requirements such as P65. That being said, there are many big companies in California, and they may want the products entering their supply chains nationwide to meet the requirements of P65. With two-thirds of Canada’s exports going to the United States, there’s no doubt that a large portion of Quebec’s maple syrup needs to be P65 compliant if we want to guarantee those sales.


You told us that small operations with fewer than 10,000 taps had until spring 2021 to comply with P65 requirements. I have 3,000 taps and I’m not ready yet. Why should be penalized for not signing this year?

It’s true that the P65 compliance schedule provides for operations with fewer than 10,000 taps to wait longer before having to fully comply. The deadlines, however, are essentially for the P65 That means that starting with the 2021 harvest, the nine bottler-processors might source their maple syrup only from operations that have signed the lead reduction declaration.

If you aren’t ready to sign the declaration this year, you’re under no obligation.

However, PPAQ and CIE have agreed to provide all maple syrup operations with the option of signing the declaration right away, since an operation with fewer than 10,000 taps could be declared compliant with P65 this year, for example.

Maple operations that don’t meet P65 requirements should understand that their maple syrup stock may be less attractive to bottler-processors.

PPAQ is aware that operations with fewer than 10,000 taps don’t have to meet all the P65 requirements this year. It’s worth bearing in mind that PPAQ has no way of knowing what the short-, medium-, or long-term demand might be for maple syrup that doesn’t meet the requirements of P65. But supply and demand suggests that when the demand for a product drops, a decline in value may be experienced.


Can I continue delivering my maple syrup in bulk if my operation doesn’t meet the P65 requirements?

Whether or not your operation complies with the P65 requirements, you can still take your maple syrup to the PPAQ warehouse in Laurierville or to an authorized buyer who doesn’t require P65 compliance. Sales of bulk maple syrup in Quebec are subject to the terms of the marketing agreement.


What’s the deadline to change my equipment?

The implementation schedule in the P65 agreement only applies to the nine bottler-processors who signed the agreement. It may however affect maple syrup producers who sell to the authorized buyers who are party to the agreement. Maple producers themselves however are not bound by that schedule. It’s up to them. However, a buyer could decide to source maple syrup only from operations that adhere to the P65 requirements as set forth in the compliance schedule.

 

Full compliance

Number of taps

October 2018 for the 2019 harvest

20,000 or more

October 2019 for the 2020 harvest

10,000 to 19,999

October 2020 for the 2021 harvest

9,999 or fewer

 

The bottom line is that if you don’t sign the declaration on lead reduction measures in your registration form, an authorized purchaser could decide not to take your product starting with the 2020 harvest.

However, you could still take your maple syrup to the PPAQ warehouse in Laurierville or to an authorized buyer who doesn’t require P65 compliance. Sales of bulk maple syrup in Quebec are subject to the terms of the marketing agreement.


Is there any funding available to help cover cost of the changes?

MAPAQ launched a program early in 2019 to help maple producers cover diagnostics. It’s run by the Agriconseils network and covers 85% of the cost of your equipment diagnostics up to a maximum of $750 per business.

For more on the program, contact a maple counsellor from the list online at bit.ly/2Fsxvac or call Agriconseils at 1‑866‑680‑1858.


How do I know if my maple syrup is filtered at 180°F? Do I need to buy a thermometer for my press?

We recommend asking an ACER-trained maple counsellor for technical questions. They are professionals qualified to advise you properly.


Do I have to hire a maple counsellor to check if my equipment is P65 compliant?

No, there’s no obligation to have a counsellor check if your equipment meets the requirements of P65. Owners of maple operations are free to make verifications themselves. There’s even a guide available (in French) that summarizes the P65 requirements for maple syrup producers. You’ll find it at centreacer.qc.ca. Producers who opt to take that route however assume full responsibility for making a diligent and serious assessment of their equipment.


I need someone to check my equipment. Is that possible?

A number of counsellors have been trained by the ACER Centre, which works with PPAQ and other stakeholders supporting the maple syrup industry. The counsellors are professionals who can conduct diagnostics to determine whether your equipment is P65 compliant.

A list with contact information is available on the centreacer.qc.ca website (in French). Feel free to contact them for an appointment to get help with any decisions you need to make.


How do I know if my business meets P65 requirements?

The best way to find out if your operation meets P65 requirements is to have an equipment compliance diagnostic performed by a maple production consultant trained by the ACER Centre.

You can also ask your equipment manufacturer to certify what they sold you. It’s also a good idea to always get a written declaration from the seller that any new equipment you buy is P65 compliant.

Bear in mind that P65 compliance is essentially based on a written and dated statement by the maple syrup producer or authorized buyer that the lead reduction measures have been taken.


What is the California Agreement (P65)?

The California Agreement is a legal settlement signed in October 2014 by nine Canadian and American bottler-processors of maple products.

This agreement arises from the State of California’s Proposition 65, a legislation designed to make sure Californians are informed of any toxic substances in consumer products.

The bottler-processors who signed the P65 agreement had been taken to court by an environmental organization claiming that the lead level in the maple syrup was too high and they hadn’t put a warning label about it on their products.

To avoid having to put warnings on their products, the signatories agreed to a number of actions:

  • Only accept maple syrup from maple producers who use the lead-free equipment specified in the P65 agreement
  • Only accept maple syrup that has not been exposed to lead-based paint (for example, on the walls of production facilities)
  • Only accept maple syrup filtered at or above 180°F
  • Stop using galvanized steel drums

The sites of the PPAQ

Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Logo
Follow us!
Sign up for our newsletter
© 2020 Producteurs et productrices acéricoles du Québec. All rights reserved.