Food Fights

Syrup-Makers Outraged by All the Fake ‘Maple’ Products

Not what's in those Mini Wheats.
Not what’s in those Mini Wheats. Photo: P.Desgrieux/Corbis

Hacked-off maple-syrup producers from the industry’s two biggest trade groups have demanded an end to the “gross deception” of food corporations’ pretend-maple products. In a press conference Tuesday with several members of Congress, they told the AP that they’ve sent the FDA an angry letter schooling the agency on Big Food’s near-endless supply of “maple” products, whose ingredient lists contain no real syrup whatsoever. The group wants the word removed from their labels.

Most of the products under dispute (which are made by conglomerates like PepsiCo and Kellogg’s) aren’t even syrups — they’re Quaker Oats oatmeal, Hood ice cream, Gu sports gel packets, and other things where the presumption of the flavor’s authenticity is probably on par with cinnamon-bun-flavored Oreos. That’s no surprise, really, but the syrup industry’s point is there are nonetheless pretty clear rules about when an ingredient can appear on labels. Those rules basically boil down to: The specified ingredient needs to be in there somewhere. These particular products just add a bunch of chemical flavoring to sugar.

Obviously the FDA won’t be acting overnight on this, so hopefully these syrup-makers — who already have their own bona fide cartel — don’t get impatient and decide to take matters into their own hands. One veteran producer said he wished he could crush Big Food with “the weight of Darth Vader.”


Syrup Industry Blasts Fake ‘Maple’ Products