Maple Syrup

Similar to honey, maple syrup is a commodity frequently produced in anything from very small batches from a single individual to massive quantities produced by commercial operations. As such, the regulations for selling maple syrup can vary based on several factors. Depending on the volume of syrup sold, your maple syrup processing business may or may not require a food processing plant license. A retail food establishment license and a food warehouse license may also be required depending on the circumstances.


Food Processing Plant License:  A business selling maple syrup wholesale to another processor or entity must have a food processing license unless it is exempt:
  • Producers of pure maple syrup and concentrated sap who sell these products wholesale to other processors for further processing are exempt from food processing plant licensing if their gross receipts total less than $5,000 a year. 

    • Exempt producers must keep a written record of every sale and retain that record for at least two years.

      • The record must be available for inspection and copying by DATCP upon request. 

      • The record shall include the name and address of the purchasing processor, the date of sale, the amount of maple syrup or concentrated maple sap sold, and the sale price. 

    • Exempt producers must also register their business with the DATCP for free before engaging in any processing activities in any license year ending March 31st. 

  • Registration is done in writing using DATCP maple sap processor registration form (form is located under Additional Resources on left margin)

  • Producers required to hold a food processing plant license are required to follow grading requirements for maple syrup (covered later). 

  • Producers not required to hold a food processing plant license are required to either follow grading requirements or to label syrup as “ungraded. 

Retail Food Establishment License: Producers who sell maple syrup directly to consumers must have a retail food establishment license unless both of the following conditions apply:
  • The establishment only sells fresh fruits and vegetables, honey, cider, sorghum, or maple syrup.
  • The operator of the establishment produces the product sold to the consumer.


Food Warehouse License: Processors must hold a food warehouse license if liquid maple product or maple-derived water are held for more than 24 hours at a location other than the food processing plant.


Maple Syrup Grading and Labeling

Grading requirements vary based upon the type of license the facility holds. All maple syrup sellers must indicate on their labeling the grade of the syrup or whether it is ungraded, but leaving maple syrup ungraded is not acceptable in all situations.  
  • If a facility has a food processing plant license, they must label their maple syrup product as one of the following: Grade A, processing grade, or substandard. 
    • However, if the product is being sold as bulk to be further processed it may be labeled as ungraded.
  • If a facility does not hold a food processing plant license, they must label their product as one of the following: Grade A, processing grade, substandard, or ungraded. 


The different grades of maple syrup and the requirements to make each grade are listed on the infographic below. 


Obtaining Licenses