The safety and quality of Canadian maple syrup is monitored by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) which ensures producers meet high federal standards. The CFIA is also responsible for the federal classification of maple syrup, or grades. Canadian maple syrup is graded and marketed as Canada No. 1 (extra light, light and medium), Canada No. 2 (amber) or Canada No. 3 (dark). The grade of the syrup is primarily determined by the colour class, which is determined by the amount of light that will pass through the syrup as measured by a spectrophotometer. The more light that passes through the syrup (the lighter the colouring of the syrup), the higher the colour class.
Maple syrup made from maple sap tapped at the beginning of the season is generally clearer and lighter or milder in taste. Sap collected further into the season tends to produce maple syrup which is darker and has a more caramelized flavour. It is important to note that all maple syrup grades have the same sugar content, 66% sugar or 66 brix.
|Canadian Grade||Colour||US Grade||Taste|
|Canada No.1||Extra Light||Grade A (light amber)||Very Subtle|
|Canada No.1||Light||Grade A (medium amber)||Subtle|
|Canada No.1||Medium||Grade A (dark amber)||Relatively Intense|
|Canada No.2||Amber||Grade B (for reprocessing)||Intense|
|Canada No.3||Dark||Substandard||Very Intense|