Color grading of maple syrup is based on placing syrup samples within four or more categories based either on visual comparison to color references or measurement of light transmission with a spectrophotometer. With a spectrophotometer, specific transmission values are used as break points to divide syrup samples into color grades. The purpose of this report is to describe the lack of agreement between existing light transmission break points and visual grading and how this problem can be addressed.
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A new grading system standardizes how all maple producing jurisdictions label their syrup.
The U.S. grading laws.
Voluntary U.S. grade standards are issued under the authority of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, which provides for the development of official U.S. grades to designate different levels of quality. These grade standards are available for use by producers, suppliers, buyers, and consumers. As in the case of other standards for grades of fresh and processed fruits, vegetables, and specialty crops these standards are designed to facilitate orderly marketing by providing a convenient basis for buying and selling, for establishing quality control programs, and for determining loan values.
One of the most important skills for sugarmakers to master is knowing when what’s boiling in the evaporator has become syrup. Quality control is key, and packaging syrup too dense or not dense enough will ruin the best of any sugarmaker’s efforts.
Thoughts on the value of implementing the new maple grading system.