Flavor Alert: Where’s the Maple?

September 26th, 2016

Just in time for fall, the FDA in a recent missive reminded consumers to be wary of flavors advertised on food labels. Not a bad idea at a time when pumpkin spice lattes hit the market again, complete with associated controversies. Craving some hot chocolate this autumn? The agency noted that a company could label a product chocolate even if there is just some cocoa powder in it. Looking forward to some hot oatmeal sweetened with maple syrup for breakfast this chilly autumn? Currently a product can be called “maple” even if it doesn’t contain maple syrup (as long as it contains some sort of maple flavoring, like sap or bark or even fenugreek, a herb that imparts a maple flavor).

Confused? You are not alone.

The maple industry as well as several lawmakers from maple producing states have urged the FDA to investigate misleading maple food labels and pursue tougher enforcement action, saying there is “compelling evidence of widespread intentional misrepresentation in the labeling of maple products.”

Here are a few products that have been called out by maple syrup producers as well as some that have been challenged in court:

maple-flavor-alert-list-new-2

Until the sticky maple labeling situation gets sorted out, there is one good thing to know. If you want to smear some butter along with maple syrup on your pancakes, the product you use must be made from 100 percent butter to be called “butter.” Whew.

For more on maple products, see related content: Trader Joe’s, Quaker Oats, Hostess, Honey Stinger.

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