You buy a product at the store and expect it to be what the label says.  Whipping cream should be just that - a dairy product, not some formulated food product.  Vanilla should come from the plant - and not be sweetened caramel water (like some formulations are).

One "food fake" that's been passed off for years on grocery store shelves has been maple syrup.  If you're buying Mrs. Butterworth or Golden Griddle or Log Cabin and thinking you're getting real, honest-to-goodness, from a tree maple syrup - you might be surprised.

That might change if U.S. lawmakers have anything to do with it.

Canadian syrup producers are licking their lips over news that a group of U.S. lawmakers have proposed a bill that would make it a felony to market a product as maple syrup when it's not the real thing.

In New England - Vermont in particular - they take their maple syrup seriously.

U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Susan Collins of Maine have introduced a bill called the Maple Agriculture Protection and Law Enforcement Act. It would make the fraudulent sale of maple syrup a felony offence punishable by up to five years in prison. Under current law, such a violation is a misdemeanour.

"I have been alarmed by the growing number of individuals and businesses claiming to sell Vermont maple syrup when they are in fact selling an inferior product that is not maple syrup at all," Leahy said in a statement.

"This is fraud, plain and simple, and it undermines a key part of Vermont's economy."


Sweet justice: U.S. politicians push for crackdown on maple syrup fraud.