Our maple products are now certified organic by certifying organization here in NY (nofany). While we did not really change anything in our production process to get to that point we feel that the seal assures the public that our products are top quality beyond our say so.
I do, however, have a “beef” with the regulations. Apparently, for USDA certification as organic you only need to have 95% organic ingredients. The remaining 5% of ingredients must come from an approved “national list” of ingredients which is as long as your arm. In looking over the list I do not see any blatantly harmful products. For some products I think these ingredients are a fact of life just to produce the product. I do think, however, that the public feels that organic means no nonorganic ingredients are used which is just not the case. I would propose that foods need to have complete lists of ingredients as people with food allergies etc. could be hurt by ingredients not listed.
In maple, the organic issues are relatively simple. Generally, maple syrup is boiled with some type of defoamer used in the evaporator. We use organic butter in our operation but there are a range of oils in use including synthetic oils. The use of synthetics generally disqualifies the syrup from organic certification. The other issue can be cleaners used in equipment. We do use mild acids as cleaners but we use only high pressure water as cleaner in maple sap collection tubing.
Maple syrup is one of the most naturally organic of all foods. I do not fault producers who are not organic as I do not think their methods are generally harmful. I do think that all foods should be labeled so the public knows exactly what is in the food they are buying.
The organic seal that we use appears below: