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.

Maple Syrup Grading

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