Maple Syrup Blog

what is the difference between organic and non organic maple syrup

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    At Acadian Maple, we sell Pure Maple Syrup as well as Certified Organic Pure Maple Syrup. Our Organic Maple Syrup is certified organic by Quality Assurance International. Organic food products are grown naturally using no chemicals including pesticides, radiation, or genetic engineering. Pure means that there is only one ingredient in each bottle, that being maple syrup. But many people wonder why the Pure Maple Syrup isn’t the same thing as Organic Pure Maple Syrup. There are many key differences between the two, including where the maple trees are tapped, how the maple trees are tapped, how the sap is collected and stored, and so on. There are more restrictions on how Organic Pure Maple Syrup can be produced compared to Pure Maple Syrup.  Although different regulatory agencies require and impose different restrictions, there are a few common things that differentiate organic and non-organic maple syrup.
    During the Maple Syrup season, which starts in the middle of March, maple syrup producers have selected sites where there are an abundance of maple trees. Small operators are allowed 2000-3000 taps on their sites, while larger operators may have over 150,000 taps on one site. Organic maple syrup producers average 22,000 taps, and this number has been going up over the years. Organic maple syrup producers must have maps of all their sites, as well as buffers if they are close to farm land or Christmas tree lots using prohibited materials such as pesticides. 
    Organic maple syrup producers must ensure the presence of 15% companion species, which means at least 15% of the trees in their wood lot must not be maple.  They are not allowed to cut undergrowth, and their fertilizer use is limited to the occasion
al use of wood ash, lime, or other allowed fertilizers. Tubing to collect maple syrup must be installed with protectors to avoid damaging maple trees. There are limitations to the size of maple trees that organic maple syrup producers can tap, the trees must  have a di
ameter larger than 20cm at chest height in order to be tapped once, a diameter of at least 40 cm at chest height to be tapped twice, or a diameter of 60cm at chest height for the tree to be tapped the maximum of three times for one season.
    The only disinfectant allowed, which ensures there is no bacteria in the tap hole when the tree is tapped, for organic maple syrup producers is food grade ethyl alcohol; while other maple syrup producers can use any variety of chemicals for disinfectant during the maple season. Maple syrup producers normally use a reverse osmosis machine to process sap before boiling. This cuts down on labour as well as fuel costs.  Organic maple syrup producers must ensure that no mineral components of sap are removed during this process.  This is generally achieved through the limitation of concentration of the maple sap.   During the time that the sap is boiled, organic maple syrup producers must use only stainless steel pans, and only certified organic oils as de-foamers. During the boiling season, only water may be used for cleaning these pans, and vinegar or fermented sap may be used at the end of the season
Production plans, Production records, complaint logs, sales records, inventory records, product traceability, and site maps are all required for organic maple syrup producers to keep on file. 
    In all, pure maple syrup is organic in the way that is is naturally grown and produced with no chemicals, but organic pure maple syrup is certified organic because there are specific guidelines and regulations that are followed during the process of producing maple syrup to ensure that no chemicals or other inorganic products are used during production.  This extra work, which creates an audit-able paper trail is what demands the higher cost for certified organic pure maple syrup.