United States Standards for Grades of Maple Sirup, 26200-26202 [2014-10372]

Download as PDF 26200 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 88 / Wednesday, May 7, 2014 / Notices submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 720–8681. An agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. Total Burden Hours: 26,169. Charlene Parker, Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer. [FR Doc. 2014–10479 Filed 5–6–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–XV–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service [Document Number AMS–FV–14–0040; FV– 14–328] pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Rural Housing Service Title: 7 CFR Part 1902–A, Supervised Bank Accounts. OMB Control Number: 0575–0158. Summary of Collection: 7 CFR Part 1902–A, Supervised Bank Accounts (SBA), prescribes the policies and procedures for disbursing loan and grant funds, establishing and closing supervised accounts, and placing MultiFamily housing reserve accounts in supervised accounts. The Rural Business Service extends financial assistance to applicants that do not qualify for loans under commercial rates and terms. The Rural Housing Service (RHS) is the credit agency for agriculture and rural development in USDA. RHS is the lender of last resort, providing financial support for housing in rural America. Supervised accounts are accounts with a financial institution in the names of a borrower and the United States Government, represented by Rural Housing Service, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service (Agency). Section 339 of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act, 7 U.S.C. 1989 and Section 510 of the Housing Act of 1949, as amended, (42 U.S.C. 1480) is the legislative authorities requiring the use of supervised accounts. Need and Use of the Information: The agency’s state and field offices will collect information from borrowers and financial institutions. The Agency use SBA’s as a mechanism to (1) ensure correct disbursement and expenditure of all funds designated for a project; (2) help a borrower properly manage its financial affairs; (3) ensure that the Government’s security is protected adequately from fraud, waste and abuse. The consequence to Federal program and policy activities if the collection of information was not conducted would be detrimental to both the Government and to borrowers. Description of Respondents: Business or other for-profit. Number of Respondents: 15,192. Frequency of Responses: Reporting: On occasion. VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:11 May 06, 2014 Jkt 232001 United States Standards for Grades of Maple Sirup Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice and request for comments. AGENCY: The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) is soliciting public comments on a proposed revision to the United States Standards for Grades of Maple Sirup (Syrup). AMS received a petition from the International Maple Syrup Institute (IMSI) requesting a revision of the U.S. grade standards. IMSI stated it is interested in developing harmonized grade standards for maple syrup producers in the United States and Canada, and asked AMS to replace the current grade classification requirements with new color and flavor descriptors, and revise Grade A requirements to be free from damage. AMS is also proposing to change the spelling from ‘‘sirup’’ to the more commonly used term ‘‘syrup.’’ The proposed grade standards would revise the existing federal grade standards for maple sirup (syrup). The purpose of these proposed revisions would be to foster or assist in the development of new or expanded markets, and improve the marketing of maple syrup in the U.S. and internationally. DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before July 7, 2014. ADDRESSES: Written comments may be submitted via the Internet: http:// www.regulations.gov; or email richard.peterson@ams.usda.gov; or by mail to Richard E. Peterson, Standardization Branch, Specialty Crops Inspection Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 0709, South Building; STOP 0247, Washington, DC 20250; fax (202) 690– 1527. All comments should reference the document number, date, and page number of this issue of the Federal Register. All comments will be posted SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 without change, including any personal information provided. All comments submitted in response to this notice will be included in the public record and will be made available to the public on the Internet via http:// www.regulations.gov. Comments will be made available for public inspection at the above address during regular business hours or can be viewed at: http://www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Contact Richard E. Peterson, Agricultural Marketing Specialist, Specialty Crops Inspection Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 0709, South Building; STOP 0247, Washington, DC 20250; telephone (202) 720–5021; fax (202) 690–1527; or, email richard.peterson@ams.usda.gov. Copies of the proposed revised grade standards are on the Internet at http:// www.ams.usda.gov/scihome or http:// www.regulations.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: AMS is proposing to revise the U.S. Standards for Grades of Maple Sirup using the procedures that appear in Title 7 part 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR part 36). Section 203(c) of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (Act) (7 U.S.C. 1621–1627), as amended, directs and authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture ‘‘to develop and improve standards of quality, condition, quantity, grade and packaging, and recommend and demonstrate such standards in order to encourage uniformity and consistency in commercial practices.’’ AMS is committed to carrying out this authority in a manner that facilitates the marketing of agricultural commodities and makes copies of official standards available upon request. The United States Standards for Grades of Fruits and Vegetables not connected with Federal Marketing Orders or U.S. Import Requirements, no longer appear in the Code of Federal Regulations, but are maintained by USDA, AMS, Fruit and Vegetable Program, and are available on the Internet at http:// www.ams.usda.gov/scihome. Background Maple syrup is the liquid food derived by concentration and heat treatment of the sap of the maple tree (Acer). Maple syrup contains an abundant amount of naturally occurring minerals such as calcium, manganese, potassium and magnesium. Maple syrup is a natural source of beneficial antioxidants. The North American maple syrup industry sells an estimated E:\FR\FM\07MYN1.SGM 07MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 88 / Wednesday, May 7, 2014 / Notices $400 million of product annually, but the maple crop can vary significantly from year to year depending on weather and other factors. An example of this is reflected in the 2013 National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) report for 2013, the report states: Nationally, maple syrup production in 2013 totaled 3.25 million gallons, up 70 percent from 2012. In 2012, prevailing high temperatures limited sap flow. The number of taps is estimated at 10.6 million, 8 percent above the 2012 total of 9.77 million. Yield per tap is estimated to be 0.308 gallons, up 58 percent from the previous season’s revised yield. All States showed an increase in production from the previous year. Cool temperatures in the early spring months delayed budding of maple trees which contributed to a longer season of sap flow than last year. The earliest sap flow reported was January 1 in New York. The latest sap flow reported to open the season was February 15 in Wisconsin. On average, the season lasted 37 days, compared with 24 days in 2012. The 2012 U.S. average price per gallon was $39.10, up $1.20 from the 2011 price of $37.90. The U.S. value of production, at $74.6 million for 2012, was down 30 percent from the previous season. In 2002, IMSI, which represents maple producers, state governments, vendors, maple equipment manufacturers, organizations, and others in both Canada and the United States, established a committee to review existing regulations for pure maple syrup in Canada and the United States. The committee recommended establishing harmonized and standard definitions, grades, and nomenclature for pure maple syrup in the United States and Canada for the benefit of the maple industry. IMSI is seeking to eliminate inconsistent grade names and nomenclature, which vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and emphasize the taste of the syrup by including flavor descriptors as well as new color descriptors on the labels for the different classes of syrup. 26201 In September 2011, AMS received a petition to revise the U.S. Standards for Grades of Maple Sirup from IMSI. Petitioner IMSI stated that consumers currently face a patchwork of grading systems in the United States that are confusing, and fail to define the grades of maple syrup in meaningful terms. The petitioner stated its overall goal as providing uniform definitions of maple syrup in North America and the world marketplace. In addition to proposing modifications to the standards, as proposed by IMSI, AMS is proposing to change the spelling from ‘‘sirup’’ to the more commonly used term ‘‘syrup.’’ The table below illustrates the variation of grade standards requirements among the maple producing states and Canada in 2013 and the proposed revision. The current U.S. grade standardsdo not recognize percent light transmittance (%Tc) as a means of ascertaining color, but at the state level, some states use this method to determine the color of maple syrup. COMPARISON OF 2013 USDA, STATE STANDARDS, AND PROPOSED MAPLE SYRUP GRADES AND NOMENCLATURE Current U.S. standard 1 U.S Grade A Light Amber. Vermont 2 and Ohio 1 New Hampshire 1 New York 1 Vermont Fancy ≥75.0% Tc Ohio Light. Grade A Medium Amber 60.5– 74.9% Tc. Grade A Dark Amber 44.0– 60.4% Tc. Grade B 27.0– 43.9% Tc. Grade A Light Amber. Grade A Light Amber. Grade A Medium Amber. Grade A Medium Amber. Grade A Dark Amber. Grade A Dark Amber. Grade B ............... U.S. Grade B For Reprocessing. Commercial Grade <27.0% Tc. Grade B ............... Substandard 3 ......... Substandard 3 ...... Substandard 3 ...... Extra Dark for Cooking or Grade B for Reprocessing. Extra Dark for Cooking or Grade B for Reprocessing. Substandard 3 ...... U.S. Grade A Medium Amber. U.S. Grade A Dark Amber. U.S. Grade B For Reprocessing. Canada all provinces 2 Maine 2 Grade A Light Amber ≥75.0% Tc. Grade A Medium Amber 60.5– 74.9% Tc. Grade A Dark Amber 44.0– 60.4% Tc. Grade A Extra Dark Amber 27.0–43.9% Tc. Commercial Grade <27.0% Tc. Substandard 3 ...... Proposed option 2 Canada No. 1 Extra Light ≥75.0% Tc. Canada No. 1 Light 60.5– 74.9% Tc. Canada No. 1 Medium 44.0– 60.4% Tc. Canada No. 2 Amber 27.0– 43.9% Tc. Grade A Golden Delicate Taste ≥75.0% Tc. Grade A Amber Rich Taste 50– 74.9% Tc. Grade A Dark Robust Taste 25– 49.9% Tc. Grade A Very Dark Strong Taste <25.0% Tc. Canada No. 3 Processing Grade Dark <27.0% Tc. any Color Class, any offflavored syrup. N/A ...................... N/A. 1 Color determined using USDA Color Standards for Maple Syrup. light transmission measured with a spectrophotometer using matched square optical cells having a 10mm light path at a wavelength of 560 nm, with the color values expressed in percent of light transmission as compared to analytical reagent glycerol fixed at one hundred percent transmission. Percent transmission determined in this way is symbolized ‘‘%Tc’’. 3 Fails Other Grade Requirements. pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 2 Percent Currently, there are both Federal standards and separate state standards for maple syrup. The existing Federal standards and 2013 state standards are referenced in the above table. Vermont and New York have moved forward with new regulations for labeling maple syrup with full implementation on January 1, 2015. The U.S. Standards for Grades of Maple Sirup, effective date January 14, 1980, are voluntary U.S. grade standards issued under the authority of the Act VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:11 May 06, 2014 Jkt 232001 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. The standards serve as a basis for the inspection and grading of commodities by the Federal inspection service as provided under the Act. As in the case of other standards for grades of fresh and processed fruits, vegetables, and specialty crops, these standards are designed to facilitate marketing by PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 providing a convenient basis for buying and selling maple syrup, and identification of product value. While the petitioner’s overall goal is to provide universal definitions, and standardized grading and labeling requirements for maple syrup in the North American and world marketplace, the revisions proposed in this action apply only to the voluntary U.S. standards for maple syrup authorized under the Act. E:\FR\FM\07MYN1.SGM 07MYN1 pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 26202 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 88 / Wednesday, May 7, 2014 / Notices Under current U.S. standards, producers include a grade statement and color descriptor on labels of maple syrup. Syrup with a rich bold flavor is currently labeled as Grade B syrup, which is not intended for retail sale. However, consumers are increasingly seeking the darkest color class of maple syrup for cooking and table use. The proposed revisions to the U.S. standards would categorize Grade B syrup (containing no damage or off flavors/ odors) as Grade A to allow the darker syrup to be sold at the retail level. According to the petitioner, a basic description of taste intensity on the product label would help consumers and ingredient users more consistently purchase syrup in accordance with their taste preferences and needs. The proposed revision to the Grade A classification includes four color and flavor classes of maple syrup determined: (1) Using a spectrophotometer, which provides a measure of percent of light transmission through the syrup expressed as percent of light transmission and symbolized by %Tc values; or (2) by any method that provides equivalent results. The new grade classifications would be: U.S. Grade A Golden (delicate taste, ≥75.0%Tc), U.S. Grade A Amber (rich taste, 50.0–74.9%Tc), U.S. Grade A Dark (robust taste, 25.0–49.9%Tc), and U.S. Grade A Very Dark (strong taste, <25.0%Tc). The proposed grade standards would remove references to the USDA permanent glass color standards for maple sirup (syrup). The petitioner also requested a limit to the brix range of 66 percent minimum to 68.9 percent maximum soluble solids. After submitting the petition, IMSI additionally requested that the standards include definitions for mold and yeast. AMS did not include separate definitions for mold and yeast, but the terms were incorporated within the definition of fermentation. The proposed revision to the Grade A classification includes, free from off flavors, odors, and fermentation, and is free from turbidity or sediment. Fermentation is caused by the presence of mold and yeast. Off flavor and odor can also indicate the presence of mold and yeast. Fermentation, off flavor and odor are classified as damage and are not permitted in Grade A. AMS retained the Substandard grade which was not included in the petition. The Substandard Grade allows a category of products that are not fit for human consumption or do not meet the requirements for ‘‘Processing Grade.’’ Additional requests by the petitioner was establishing a maximum solids level at 68.9%, and using the term VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:11 May 06, 2014 Jkt 232001 ‘‘Pure’’ maple syrup in the product description. AMS did not include this in the product definition, because it would not be consistent with the current Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standard of identity for maple syrup (21 CFR 168.140). However, the Brix limit is included in the Grade A classification. AMS is also proposing to change the spelling of ‘‘sirup’’ to the more current commonly used term ‘‘syrup’’ to align it with the FDA standard of identity for Maple Syrup 21 CFR 168.140 (c) and commercial practices. IMSI also requested that the standards include the flavor and color descriptors to be placed on the label. AMS is not moving forward with such requirements for flavor and color descriptors because such requirements would not be appropriate for inclusion in the U.S. grade standards. The proposed revision would include a ‘‘Processing Grade,’’ a grade that does not meet the ‘‘U.S. Grade A’’ requirements as far as quality, may contain off flavors, may not be for retail sales, and may be used for reprocessing. Off flavors/odors may be defined as any specific and identifiable flavor or smell defect not normally found in good quality maple syrup. These off flavors may be related to natural factors such as, woody, buddy, or fermented flavors or due to production, handling, or storage, e.g., burnt, chemical, or mold. The ‘‘Processing Grade’’ in other respects, may have fairly good characteristic maple taste, be fairly free of damage, turbidity or cloudiness, and be fairly free from foreign material, such as pieces of bark, soot, dust, and dirt. Under the proposed revision the grade of a sample unit of maple syrup would be ascertained considering the factors of color, flavor, odor, damage, and turbidity or cloudiness. USDA grades for maple syrup are not mandatory, but producers, processors and handlers/packers labeling maple syrup as a particular U.S. grade are responsible for the accuracy of that U.S. grade statement indicated, that the maple syrup meets the current Federal standards for that grade. Under the existing regulations governing the inspection and grading of processed fruits, vegetables, and miscellaneous products, 7 CFR 52.53 provides for the use of approved identification marks and paragraph (h) describes or lists prohibited uses of approved identification. Section 52.53(h) provides that, except for officially inspected or otherwise approved products (namely maple syrup and honey) no label or advertising material used upon, or in conjunction with, a processed product PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 shall bear a brand name, trademark, product name, company name, or any other descriptive material as it relates or alludes to any official U.S. Department of Agriculture certificate of quality or loading, grade mark, grade statement (except honey and maple syrup which may bear such grade mark or statement), continuous inspection mark, continuous inspection statement, sampling mark or sampling statement or combinations of one or more of the above. Therefore, honey and maple syrup may bear official USDA grade marks without official inspection. Commodities covered by U.S. grade standards must comply with all applicable Federal, state and local laws. The official grade of a lot of maple syrup covered by these standards would be determined by the procedures set forth in the Regulations Governing Inspection and Certification of Processed Products, Thereof, and Certain Other Processed Food Products (7 CFR 52.1 to 52.83). AMS is soliciting comment on the proposed United States Standards for Grades of Maple Sirup. AMS is publishing this notice with a 60-day comment period. Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1621–1627. Dated: May 1, 2014. Rex A. Barnes, Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 2014–10372 Filed 5–6–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Olympic Peninsula Resource Advisory Committee Forest Service, USDA. Notice of meeting. AGENCY: ACTION: The Olympic Peninsula Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet in Olympia, Washington. The committee is authorized under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (Pub. L. 110– 343) (the Act) and operates in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The purpose of the committee is to improve collaborative relationships and to provide advice and recommendations to the Forest Service concerning projects and funding consistent with Title II of the Act. The meeting is open to the public. The purpose of the meeting is to review project proposals and make recommendations for 2014 Title II funds. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\07MYN1.SGM 07MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 88 (Wednesday, May 7, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 26200-26202]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-10372]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Agricultural Marketing Service

[Document Number AMS-FV-14-0040; FV-14-328]


United States Standards for Grades of Maple Sirup

AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice and request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the Department of 
Agriculture (USDA) is soliciting public comments on a proposed revision 
to the United States Standards for Grades of Maple Sirup (Syrup). AMS 
received a petition from the International Maple Syrup Institute (IMSI) 
requesting a revision of the U.S. grade standards. IMSI stated it is 
interested in developing harmonized grade standards for maple syrup 
producers in the United States and Canada, and asked AMS to replace the 
current grade classification requirements with new color and flavor 
descriptors, and revise Grade A requirements to be free from damage. 
AMS is also proposing to change the spelling from ``sirup'' to the more 
commonly used term ``syrup.'' The proposed grade standards would revise 
the existing federal grade standards for maple sirup (syrup). The 
purpose of these proposed revisions would be to foster or assist in the 
development of new or expanded markets, and improve the marketing of 
maple syrup in the U.S. and internationally.

DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before July 7, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Written comments may be submitted via the Internet: http://www.regulations.gov; or email richard.peterson@ams.usda.gov; or by mail 
to Richard E. Peterson, Standardization Branch, Specialty Crops 
Inspection Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, Agricultural 
Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence 
Avenue SW., Room 0709, South Building; STOP 0247, Washington, DC 20250; 
fax (202) 690-1527. All comments should reference the document number, 
date, and page number of this issue of the Federal Register. All 
comments will be posted without change, including any personal 
information provided. All comments submitted in response to this notice 
will be included in the public record and will be made available to the 
public on the Internet via http://www.regulations.gov. Comments will be 
made available for public inspection at the above address during 
regular business hours or can be viewed at: http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Contact Richard E. Peterson, Agricultural 
Marketing Specialist, Specialty Crops Inspection Division, Fruit and 
Vegetable Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 0709, South Building; 
STOP 0247, Washington, DC 20250; telephone (202) 720-5021; fax (202) 
690-1527; or, email richard.peterson@ams.usda.gov. Copies of the 
proposed revised grade standards are on the Internet at http://www.ams.usda.gov/scihome or http://www.regulations.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: AMS is proposing to revise the U.S. 
Standards for Grades of Maple Sirup using the procedures that appear in 
Title 7 part 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR part 36). 
Section 203(c) of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (Act) (7 
U.S.C. 1621-1627), as amended, directs and authorizes the Secretary of 
Agriculture ``to develop and improve standards of quality, condition, 
quantity, grade and packaging, and recommend and demonstrate such 
standards in order to encourage uniformity and consistency in 
commercial practices.'' AMS is committed to carrying out this authority 
in a manner that facilitates the marketing of agricultural commodities 
and makes copies of official standards available upon request. The 
United States Standards for Grades of Fruits and Vegetables not 
connected with Federal Marketing Orders or U.S. Import Requirements, no 
longer appear in the Code of Federal Regulations, but are maintained by 
USDA, AMS, Fruit and Vegetable Program, and are available on the 
Internet at http://www.ams.usda.gov/scihome.

Background

    Maple syrup is the liquid food derived by concentration and heat 
treatment of the sap of the maple tree (Acer). Maple syrup contains an 
abundant amount of naturally occurring minerals such as calcium, 
manganese, potassium and magnesium. Maple syrup is a natural source of 
beneficial antioxidants. The North American maple syrup industry sells 
an estimated

[[Page 26201]]

$400 million of product annually, but the maple crop can vary 
significantly from year to year depending on weather and other factors. 
An example of this is reflected in the 2013 National Agricultural 
Statistics Service (NASS) report for 2013, the report states: 
Nationally, maple syrup production in 2013 totaled 3.25 million 
gallons, up 70 percent from 2012. In 2012, prevailing high temperatures 
limited sap flow. The number of taps is estimated at 10.6 million, 8 
percent above the 2012 total of 9.77 million. Yield per tap is 
estimated to be 0.308 gallons, up 58 percent from the previous season's 
revised yield. All States showed an increase in production from the 
previous year. Cool temperatures in the early spring months delayed 
budding of maple trees which contributed to a longer season of sap flow 
than last year. The earliest sap flow reported was January 1 in New 
York. The latest sap flow reported to open the season was February 15 
in Wisconsin. On average, the season lasted 37 days, compared with 24 
days in 2012. The 2012 U.S. average price per gallon was $39.10, up 
$1.20 from the 2011 price of $37.90. The U.S. value of production, at 
$74.6 million for 2012, was down 30 percent from the previous season.
    In 2002, IMSI, which represents maple producers, state governments, 
vendors, maple equipment manufacturers, organizations, and others in 
both Canada and the United States, established a committee to review 
existing regulations for pure maple syrup in Canada and the United 
States. The committee recommended establishing harmonized and standard 
definitions, grades, and nomenclature for pure maple syrup in the 
United States and Canada for the benefit of the maple industry. IMSI is 
seeking to eliminate inconsistent grade names and nomenclature, which 
vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and emphasize the taste of the 
syrup by including flavor descriptors as well as new color descriptors 
on the labels for the different classes of syrup.
    In September 2011, AMS received a petition to revise the U.S. 
Standards for Grades of Maple Sirup from IMSI. Petitioner IMSI stated 
that consumers currently face a patchwork of grading systems in the 
United States that are confusing, and fail to define the grades of 
maple syrup in meaningful terms. The petitioner stated its overall goal 
as providing uniform definitions of maple syrup in North America and 
the world marketplace. In addition to proposing modifications to the 
standards, as proposed by IMSI, AMS is proposing to change the spelling 
from ``sirup'' to the more commonly used term ``syrup.''
    The table below illustrates the variation of grade standards 
requirements among the maple producing states and Canada in 2013 and 
the proposed revision. The current U.S. grade standardsdo not recognize 
percent light transmittance (%Tc) as a means of ascertaining color, but 
at the state level, some states use this method to determine the color 
of maple syrup.

                               Comparison of 2013 USDA, State Standards, and Proposed Maple Syrup Grades and Nomenclature
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Vermont [sup2] and     New Hampshire                                                Canada all        Proposed option
  Current U.S. standard [sup1]        Ohio [sup1]           [sup1]          New York [sup1]      Maine [sup2]      provinces [sup2]         [sup2]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
U.S Grade A Light Amber.........  Vermont Fancy       Grade A Light       Grade A Light       Grade A Light       Canada No. 1 Extra  Grade A Golden
                                   >=75.0% Tc Ohio     Amber.              Amber.              Amber >=75.0% Tc.   Light >=75.0% Tc.   Delicate Taste
                                   Light.                                                                                              >=75.0% Tc.
U.S. Grade A Medium Amber.......  Grade A Medium      Grade A Medium      Grade A Medium      Grade A Medium      Canada No. 1 Light  Grade A Amber Rich
                                   Amber 60.5-74.9%    Amber.              Amber.              Amber 60.5-74.9%    60.5-74.9% Tc.      Taste 50-74.9%
                                   Tc.                                                         Tc.                                     Tc.
U.S. Grade A Dark Amber.........  Grade A Dark Amber  Grade A Dark Amber  Grade A Dark Amber  Grade A Dark Amber  Canada No. 1        Grade A Dark
                                   44.0-60.4% Tc.                                              44.0-60.4% Tc.      Medium 44.0-60.4%   Robust Taste 25-
                                                                                                                   Tc.                 49.9% Tc.
U.S. Grade B For Reprocessing...  Grade B 27.0-43.9%  Grade B...........  Extra Dark for      Grade A Extra Dark  Canada No. 2 Amber  Grade A Very Dark
                                   Tc.                                     Cooking or Grade    Amber 27.0-43.9%    27.0-43.9% Tc.      Strong Taste
                                                                           B for               Tc.                                     <25.0% Tc.
                                                                           Reprocessing.
U.S. Grade B For Reprocessing...  Commercial Grade    Grade B...........  Extra Dark for      Commercial Grade    Canada No. 3 Dark   Processing Grade
                                   <27.0% Tc.                              Cooking or Grade    <27.0% Tc.          <27.0% Tc.          any Color Class,
                                                                           B for                                                       any off-flavored
                                                                           Reprocessing.                                               syrup.
Substandard [sup3]..............  Substandard [sup3]  Substandard [sup3]  Substandard [sup3]  Substandard [sup3]  N/A...............  N/A.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Color determined using USDA Color Standards for Maple Syrup.
\2\ Percent light transmission measured with a spectrophotometer using matched square optical cells having a 10mm light path at a wavelength of 560 nm,
  with the color values expressed in percent of light transmission as compared to analytical reagent glycerol fixed at one hundred percent transmission.
  Percent transmission determined in this way is symbolized ``%Tc''.
\3\ Fails Other Grade Requirements.

    Currently, there are both Federal standards and separate state 
standards for maple syrup. The existing Federal standards and 2013 
state standards are referenced in the above table. Vermont and New York 
have moved forward with new regulations for labeling maple syrup with 
full implementation on January 1, 2015.
    The U.S. Standards for Grades of Maple Sirup, effective date 
January 14, 1980, are voluntary U.S. grade standards issued under the 
authority of the Act 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. The standards serve as a basis for the inspection and 
grading of commodities by the Federal inspection service as provided 
under the Act. As in the case of other standards for grades of fresh 
and processed fruits, vegetables, and specialty crops, these standards 
are designed to facilitate marketing by providing a convenient basis 
for buying and selling maple syrup, and identification of product 
value.
    While the petitioner's overall goal is to provide universal 
definitions, and standardized grading and labeling requirements for 
maple syrup in the North American and world marketplace, the revisions 
proposed in this action apply only to the voluntary U.S. standards for 
maple syrup authorized under the Act.

[[Page 26202]]

    Under current U.S. standards, producers include a grade statement 
and color descriptor on labels of maple syrup. Syrup with a rich bold 
flavor is currently labeled as Grade B syrup, which is not intended for 
retail sale. However, consumers are increasingly seeking the darkest 
color class of maple syrup for cooking and table use. The proposed 
revisions to the U.S. standards would categorize Grade B syrup 
(containing no damage or off flavors/odors) as Grade A to allow the 
darker syrup to be sold at the retail level. According to the 
petitioner, a basic description of taste intensity on the product label 
would help consumers and ingredient users more consistently purchase 
syrup in accordance with their taste preferences and needs.
    The proposed revision to the Grade A classification includes four 
color and flavor classes of maple syrup determined: (1) Using a 
spectrophotometer, which provides a measure of percent of light 
transmission through the syrup expressed as percent of light 
transmission and symbolized by %Tc values; or (2) by any method that 
provides equivalent results. The new grade classifications would be: 
U.S. Grade A Golden (delicate taste, >=75.0%Tc), U.S. Grade A Amber 
(rich taste, 50.0-74.9%Tc), U.S. Grade A Dark (robust taste, 25.0-
49.9%Tc), and U.S. Grade A Very Dark (strong taste, <25.0%Tc). The 
proposed grade standards would remove references to the USDA permanent 
glass color standards for maple sirup (syrup).
    The petitioner also requested a limit to the brix range of 66 
percent minimum to 68.9 percent maximum soluble solids. After 
submitting the petition, IMSI additionally requested that the standards 
include definitions for mold and yeast. AMS did not include separate 
definitions for mold and yeast, but the terms were incorporated within 
the definition of fermentation. The proposed revision to the Grade A 
classification includes, free from off flavors, odors, and 
fermentation, and is free from turbidity or sediment. Fermentation is 
caused by the presence of mold and yeast. Off flavor and odor can also 
indicate the presence of mold and yeast. Fermentation, off flavor and 
odor are classified as damage and are not permitted in Grade A. AMS 
retained the Substandard grade which was not included in the petition. 
The Substandard Grade allows a category of products that are not fit 
for human consumption or do not meet the requirements for ``Processing 
Grade.'' Additional requests by the petitioner was establishing a 
maximum solids level at 68.9%, and using the term ``Pure'' maple syrup 
in the product description. AMS did not include this in the product 
definition, because it would not be consistent with the current Food 
and Drug Administration (FDA) standard of identity for maple syrup (21 
CFR 168.140). However, the Brix limit is included in the Grade A 
classification.
    AMS is also proposing to change the spelling of ``sirup'' to the 
more current commonly used term ``syrup'' to align it with the FDA 
standard of identity for Maple Syrup 21 CFR 168.140 (c) and commercial 
practices.
    IMSI also requested that the standards include the flavor and color 
descriptors to be placed on the label. AMS is not moving forward with 
such requirements for flavor and color descriptors because such 
requirements would not be appropriate for inclusion in the U.S. grade 
standards.
    The proposed revision would include a ``Processing Grade,'' a grade 
that does not meet the ``U.S. Grade A'' requirements as far as quality, 
may contain off flavors, may not be for retail sales, and may be used 
for reprocessing. Off flavors/odors may be defined as any specific and 
identifiable flavor or smell defect not normally found in good quality 
maple syrup. These off flavors may be related to natural factors such 
as, woody, buddy, or fermented flavors or due to production, handling, 
or storage, e.g., burnt, chemical, or mold. The ``Processing Grade'' in 
other respects, may have fairly good characteristic maple taste, be 
fairly free of damage, turbidity or cloudiness, and be fairly free from 
foreign material, such as pieces of bark, soot, dust, and dirt. Under 
the proposed revision the grade of a sample unit of maple syrup would 
be ascertained considering the factors of color, flavor, odor, damage, 
and turbidity or cloudiness.
    USDA grades for maple syrup are not mandatory, but producers, 
processors and handlers/packers labeling maple syrup as a particular 
U.S. grade are responsible for the accuracy of that U.S. grade 
statement indicated, that the maple syrup meets the current Federal 
standards for that grade. Under the existing regulations governing the 
inspection and grading of processed fruits, vegetables, and 
miscellaneous products, 7 CFR 52.53 provides for the use of approved 
identification marks and paragraph (h) describes or lists prohibited 
uses of approved identification. Section 52.53(h) provides that, except 
for officially inspected or otherwise approved products (namely maple 
syrup and honey) no label or advertising material used upon, or in 
conjunction with, a processed product shall bear a brand name, 
trademark, product name, company name, or any other descriptive 
material as it relates or alludes to any official U.S. Department of 
Agriculture certificate of quality or loading, grade mark, grade 
statement (except honey and maple syrup which may bear such grade mark 
or statement), continuous inspection mark, continuous inspection 
statement, sampling mark or sampling statement or combinations of one 
or more of the above. Therefore, honey and maple syrup may bear 
official USDA grade marks without official inspection.
    Commodities covered by U.S. grade standards must comply with all 
applicable Federal, state and local laws.
    The official grade of a lot of maple syrup covered by these 
standards would be determined by the procedures set forth in the 
Regulations Governing Inspection and Certification of Processed 
Products, Thereof, and Certain Other Processed Food Products (7 CFR 
52.1 to 52.83).
    AMS is soliciting comment on the proposed United States Standards 
for Grades of Maple Sirup.
    AMS is publishing this notice with a 60-day comment period.

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1621-1627.

    Dated: May 1, 2014.
Rex A. Barnes,
Associate Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-10372 Filed 5-6-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-02-P