Congressman Bill Owens introduced legislation today that would make the fraudulent sale of maple syrup a felony. Owens was joined by his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives Peter Welch (VT-AL), Michael Michaud (ME-2), and Chellie Pingree (ME-1) as original cosponsors of the Maple Agriculture Protection and Law Enforcement (MAPLE) Act.
"It is critical to the local economy that we protect maple producers from fraudulent competition," Owens said. "When counterfeiters try to pass off a cheaper product as real maple syrup, they damage one of the region's most successful industries. New York maple producers take great pride in their craft and it's only fair that they have the opportunity to sell their syrup in an honest market."
The MAPLE Act creates a felony offense carrying a five-year maximum penalty for fraudulently selling maple syrup that is not, in fact, maple syrup. Under current law, the sale of this fraudulent maple syrup is only a misdemeanor offense carrying only on a one-year penalty.
The MAPLE Act has also been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernard Sanders, Maine Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, and New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.