Did Nero Pass Laws Against Maple Syrup Knockoffs as Rome Burned?


America's sweethearts, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), are working overtime to protect us all from so-called maple syrup that just ain't so. This bipartisan phlegmatic duo has gone so far to introduce a new felony into the U.S. criminal code. They even worked up a clever acronym for their proposed legislation:

The bill is called the Maple Agriculture Protection and Law Enforcement or MAPLE Act and if passed, would increase the punishment for selling imitation maple syrup to a five year maximum penalty.

Leahy gets it. And Mrs. Butterworth and Aunt Jemima, you're gonna get yours!

"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….

More, including hilarious Pravda-style video "report" from CNN about the "labor of love" that is the Green Mountain State's maple syrup industry, here. 

I'm all for prosecuting fraud as it happens. So go get 'em tiger, when it comes to catching the bad guys and gals who are impugning Vermont's clean, crisp reputation. And then you know what? Go back to your day job and you and Collins should get like 58 of your best friends or whatever you need and pass a freaking budget already.

Hat tip: Mary Katherine Ham's Twitter feed.

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  1. Vermont maple syrup is doomed anyway, the Asian Long Horn Beetle is slowly creeping north from Worcester County (MA). Those bugs love maple trees…

  2. damn those pesky local concernz !

  3. Why would anyone purchase American maple syrup?

    1. It’s great for baiting ant traps and as emergency household glue.

    2. Because the Canadian shit has antifreeze in it.

    3. You’re not familiar with New England, are you?

    4. Because the Canadian stuff is ok, but the Vermont and NY stuff is far superior (IMHO).

      1. Your opinion is humble, indeed.

        It is also wrong.

        1. And I am *proud* of my humility!

      2. The finest maple syrup on earth is made in Croghan, NY. The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and Highland County, VA can only look on in envy. As for that sludge they make in Quebec, I guess it’s good enough for the Costco crowd.

  4. Those pancakes look like shit

    1. Yeah, someone doesn’t know how to cook pancakes. They’re obviously burnt.

      1. Burnt pancakes go great with maple flavored syrup.

    2. Most likely the pan is too hot, there’s too much grease in the pan, and probably not proper bacon fat either.

  5. It’s funny that they insist that people can’t be trusted to buy their own maple syrup, but they can be trusted to vote “correctly”.

    Looking at frauds like Leahy and Collins, I wonder if perhaps they have a point.

    1. They apparently can’t be trusted to vote correctly either, since corporate money can apparently buy elections.

  6. “We need to make sure that those who intentionally deceive consumers get a trip to jail, not a slap on the wrist,” Leahy said.

    Oh, yes. But look at things, um, bigger than maple syrup.

    1. America’s sweethearts

      That’s pretty good, Nick.

  7. VERMONT MAPLE SYRUP MAKES YOU FAT. That’s what should be outlawed, fatsos.

    1. But…but…fake maple syrup is made from HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP!!!!! Which is scary because fructose is a big science-y word, so it must be a toxic chemical! All chemicals are bad!!!!

      1. You smell of Poindextrose!

      2. Pancakes taste batter with Roger’s corn syrup.

        1. Typo-turned-inspiration:

          Batter-coated, Fried Pancakes.

          1. Deep fried pancakes will be all the rage at the county fairs next year.

  8. I don’t think it needs a special law, but fake maple syrup is an abomination.

    1. Abomination is not strong enough.

      1. Abomination is not strong enough.


        1. Ghafla–the distraction–is something else altogether. Now go away and practice making your hand age.

          1. a distraction from “god”, “god” in this case being Real Maple Syrup.

            *shrug*, I thought it was applicable, plus, I can’t see the word abomination without thinking of Dune, so I had to make some sort of reference.

            1. Here, wylie, put you hand in this box.

              The mystery of syrup isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.

              1. *complies*

                OMG, it keeps getting stickier and stickier, make it stop!!!

                1. A human would chew his arm off rather than endure nerve-induced corn syrupification. Just sayin’

    2. I agree. And I like my Vermont maple syrup. However, I know plenty of people that prefer the corn syrup abomination, just because they’re used to it, I guess.

      1. I pay $45 a 1/2 gallon each season. And it’s worth every penny.

        1. I tap my own maples and boil my own syrup. It’s a hell of a lot of work, but what else is there to do on a cold weekend in February? (I’m married, so sex is out.)

          1. +1 Borscht Belt Comedian

          2. I always did that when I was kid. The super light amber stuff from the first runs is amazing and pretty hard to find at a store.

            1. Real men like the darker stuff, but I’m glad that you want the light stuff, it leaves more of the other to me.

              1. No, dumbasses with no taste, who don’t know quality when they see it like the dark, dregs, late season, shit stuff. People with taste like the light stuff.

      2. The fake stuff probably tastes better than the real thing, when you smoke half a pack of GPCs with breakfast. At least, that’s what observation would suggest.

    3. I actually prefer a 50/50 mix of pure maple syrup and whatever-the-hell-you-call-Mrs.-Butterworth’s. Yeah, I’m un-American.

        1. The irony is that I love maple more than just about any other flavor. I love maple candy, beer brewed with maple, and maple ice cream (on the rare occasions I can find it). I put maple syrup in my homemade root beer. But I find maple syrup to be too thin for pancakes, french toast, etc., which is why I like to mix it with HFCS-based syrup.

          1. I find maple syrup to be too thin

            Maybe you could chill it before serving? Kinda the reverse of people heating up Fake Syrup to make it flow better.

            1. If you’re used to Mrs. Butterworth’s and other such goo, real syrup can seem startlingly thin.

              1. No carrageenan in the real stuff.

            2. The chilling doesn’t seem to thicken it much. And it is startling and a little disappointing to see the syrup wind up on the plate instead of on the pancake.

          2. Maple Ice Cream is proof that god loves Canada.

    4. Real shit is like nine dollars an ounce. Frozen waffles need some kind of lubrication, and maple syrup is too good for them. Maple flavored corn syrup does the job just fine when all you require is quick, adequate nutrition. Be smart with your money and save the good shit for Belgians, Swedish pancakes, and shit like that.

      1. Or stop eating shit.

        1. I kid. I ate fake everything when I lacked the means to do otherwise.

      2. I quit eating Belgians. Too much saturated fat.

        1. I quit eating Belgians. Too much saturated fat.

          Well, when you wrap the waffle around a stick of butter, then top it with caramel candies, what do you expect?

          1. You forgot the liquid smoke!

        2. Belgian women?

          1. And I thought fishy-vag was bad, now we gotta worry about getting heart disease too, wtf ladies?!

      3. Frozen waffles need some kind of lubrication

        See, here’s what you’re doing wrong with frozen waffles…the rest of us put them in the mouth, Colonel.

      4. That’s why you gotta have an in. Access to tons of cheap maple syrup and deer meat is the one set of connections my parents managed to give me.

      5. Frozen waffles

        I hate to get all Episiarch and shit, but you are not a human being. Ugh.

        1. Hey now. I used to throw frozen waffles in the microwave before I went to work.

          I’m not proud of myself.

          1. I understand not going to the trouble of making homemade waffles on a weekday, but there’s no excuse for not whipping together some delicious homemade pancakes instead of frozen garbage. All it takes is an egg, a cup of flour, a cup+change of buttermilk, a little salt, a little baking soda, a little baking powder, and a little bacon grease.

            That’s if you’re going to eat carbs for breakfast. Which is just silly, but that’s beside the point.

            1. By the way, you can freeze real waffles and pancakes.

              1. By the way, you can freeze real waffles and pancakes.

                For now. I’m sure the USDA is working on a regulation that would classify such an activity as a commercial food preparation outfit, thereby making it illegal unless you allow inspections of your kitchen.

                1. I’m addicted to carbs for breakfast! Show me a better way!

                  1. 5 fried eggs and a corresponding amount of sausage, Art. You’ll know the dosage is right when your back hair gets thick enough that you have to comb it.

                2. Valid point. I accept chastisement.

  9. It’s Katharine, not Katherine.

  10. A felony? Really? There saying that passing off fake maple syrup is the moral and legal equivalent of, oh, I dunno, reckless endangerment?


    1. Today it’s Mrs. Butterworth’s. Tomorrow a primered-out pickup truck. Then, it’s cousins living in sin in a falling-down single wide trailer.

      Fake maple syrup is a gateway food.

      1. You haven’t spent enough time in Vermont if you think that shit’s not happening til tomorrow; from the safety of 12 or so miles south of the VT state line I can assure you that you’ve just described about 50% of the state’s population, as well as their vehicles.

        1. Right. They’re the ones not eating the real syrup.

          1. heh–they’re the ones making it.

    2. With all the crap they keep diluting the felony category with it won’t be long before they decide they need a new, stronger category for things like homicide. When you can go into a job interview for a felony on your record for mixing HFCS with maple syrup, it won’t be long before no one cares anymore.

  11. It’s criminal to misrepresent the origin of a syrup under this bill? Really?

    Used to be, something had to get broken or someone had to get hurt for something to be a crime. Or, at the very least, one of those things had to be seriously threatened.

    This is very screwy. But it’s not inconsistent with the already existing criminal infringement of IP rights already on the books.

  12. The war on white trash?

  13. Standard libertarian disclaimer, however: Fuck imitation maple syrup.

    1. And Ohio maple syrup is easily the best. True story. (It’s probably the dioxin or something.)

      1. That’s The Ohio Maple Syrup?, right?

        1. And ProLib wins the thread.

        2. That might be better than your weeklong repetition of SpaceX news last year.

        3. That’s The Ohio Maple Syrup?, right?

          I would also have accepted O! H! I! O! maple syrup.

      2. It’s probably good enough for midwesterners and it’s easily better than anything from IN or IL, but it’s hardly the best. Even that swill from VT is better.

  14. “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….

    They should just name it the Maple Agriculture Protectionism and Law Enforcement Act.

    1. Who in hell is doing this?

      When I buy maple syrup from Vermont (or Canada, or wherever), it’s very clear from the label, and the taste makes it obvious.

      1. Poor, poor, BarryD, believing whatever labels tell him. Never fear, The U.S. Congress will protect you!

      2. It is so unbelievably obvious when it is fake. Besides, wouldn’t civil litigation under already existing fraud laws work?

        1. I’ll concur that felony is a bit over the top but you have to consider that most of the maple syrup produced in the north east is done by very small operations.. many of them family owned and done to supplement income from the farm or elsewhere. There is not enough money in it for one of them to file suit against megacorp.

  15. I have it on good authority that Mary Katharine Ham is not, in fact, a pork product of any kind. Some draft a fucking bill already.

    1. How can we be sure we’re getting genuine salty ham tears?

      1. Blind Taste-tests?

    2. That wouldn’t stop me from eating her, if you know what I mean.

  16. If I were a maple syrup counterfeiter, I would be trembling in my Timberland boots that the Maple Syrup Police don’t catch up to me.

  17. You’re missing the big picture. When you factor in the trillions of dollars in fines (not to mention asset seizures), this single bill will wipe out the deficit and put us on the road to prosperity!

  18. I occasionally take my kids (11 & 13) out of school for lunch, and did so yesterday. As we were walking back to my car, we were approached by a hippie girl passing out flyers. They were to show up for “Occupy Visalia” on Saturday afternoons.

    Well, I wanted my kids, who are becoming solid free thinkers, to learn a lesson, so I asked the hippie to sit down with me for 15 minutes so my kids could learn about the protesters and what they stood for.

    I asked her where she was n the political spectrum: very liberal.
    I asked her if she knew who the head of the Fed was: No.
    I asked her what was the Economic Advisory Panel: no idea.
    I asked her if pot should be legalized: yes.
    I asked her if it was right to bomb another country that had not waged war against us: no.
    I asked her if it was right to execute an American without a trial: no.
    I asked her if it was right to kick out illegal immigrants: no.
    I asked her if it is right to sell weapons to Mexican drug cartels so they could be transported across the border: no.
    And lastly, I asked her who she would vote for if the election were today: Obama.

    Then, I proceeded to explain how every answer she gave is at odds with Obama’s policies and that his advisory panel is packed with corporate heads that seek favors through regulation, and that the Fed manipulates the flow of money and is piling debt onto her generation, yet she didn’t even know who was in charge of it.

    Then my kids and I got up and quietly left. It was a good day.

    1. How’d she react?

      Also, was she cute?

    2. ur first mistake is describing hipsters as hippies.

      1. You are right in a way, but I think that today “hippie” has become mostly just a description of clothing style. Actual hippies, while still kind of silly, were much more interesting than the current crop of activist clones.

    3. I hope that I can one day be as cool a dad as you.

  19. Having grown up sugaring, I think this is overkill. It’s already illegal to use fraud. Just enforce those laws.

    Also as it is now I know that someone using Aunt Jemina’s has no taste.

  20. Seems like this is a contract law matter, not a criminal law matter. If somebody sold you goods and falsely advertised their origin (but the goods were not dangerous) then this can stay in the civil arena.

    Prison’s a pretty horrible institution. There’s no need for every wrong to be addressed by incarceration.

    1. Prison’s a pretty horrible institution. There’s no need for every wrong to be addressed by incarceration.

      I would disagree with you.

    2. There’s no need for every wrong to be addressed by incarceration.

      Ah, so execution then. Right? That was your point wasn’t it?

  21. She was very cute. And as far as her reaction, she was pretty receptive. Maybe because I invited her to have a discussion and didn’t treat it like a lecture. And the fact that I backed up every argument with supporting facts re: Obama’s actions (iPads were in use), showed her who were on the Advisory Panel and where their political donations go, she didn’t think I was just trying to make her look silly.

    And my son went to the car and got “DTOM” and “reason.com” bumper stickers and ran back and gave it to her, which caused her to laugh and leave the conversation on a positive note.

    Now, if I can parley that into getting laid, total win! Although she is probably lurking H&R since I kept going back to the site in our conversation, which means she’s on to me.

    1. Now, if I can parley that into getting laid, total win!

      What’s gonna get you some is the fact that you brought your kids with you. Chicks dig that kind of shit.

      1. Which makes them different for the adults of many other species that will try to kill the offspring of their rivals.

  22. Try this for argument’s sake:

    The commerce clause does indeed allow regulation (i.e. “standardization” in today’s language) of trade between the states. So, they might actually be empowered to require that something labeled “maple” be the genuine thing.

    (I did say “for argument’s sake”; my real response is “caveat emptor”.)


    It is unfortunate that the American public has gotten used to ‘mapel’ syrup that comes from a corn plant, confusing pasteurized cider with honest-to-god still sweet cider, & thinking that 3% milk is “whole” milk. On the other hand, maple syrup is a very limited commodity, so the general population’s ignorance (or poor taste) keeps the price of the good stuff down to where I can afford it without taking out a second mortgage.

    1. Even if one concedes the need for regulation, we’re still left with the fact that making this a felony is real overkill. It’s already a misdemeanor.

  23. I refuse to buy maple syrup and only use the fake shit because purchasing the real stuff only furthers Vermonters donating money to Patrick Leahy.

    1. Instead I use the fake shit which means corn growers continue to feed money to Dick Durbin.

      I would love to see Durbin and Leahy fight a duel over this.

    2. not everyone in VT is a commie you know. From 1854 to 1992 VT only went blue once, Johnson over Goldwater. The commie influence is largely from Boston relocations/retirees, less so CT/NJ/NY. Unfortunately, penicillin does not have any effect.

      1. Basically get out of Chittendon County or Montpelier and the area is pretty conservative. Super rural areas usually are.

        1. There is no better entertainment than a protest march on Church street mall in Burlington. Every nutty cause you can think of will be represented.

          1. Who needs a march? saturday afternoon works just as good.

  24. “Mrs. Butterworth and Aunt Jemima, you’re gonna get yours!”

    Racism! Misogyny!

    Sorry, had to get that joke out of the way and nobody else was doing it.

    1. But Mrs. Butterworth is a white syrup bottle lady.

  25. Why are there two Mrs Butterworths?

    Why is Maple inside its own acronym?


    1. It’s not barbaric, it’s called a recursive acronym.

  26. My new ad campaign:

    Today’s government – Everyone gets a felony!!!!

  27. Re-reading the comments here, I’m truly amazed at the depth of knowledge, and strength of opinion, that Reason commenters have on the subject of maple syrup.

    1. There’s not much to do growing up in the Vermont mountains…

  28. Damn New York Jewocracy, always tellin’ the countryman how to eat his breakfast.

  29. hello,welcome to http://www.luckygrip. com,i hope everyone will more like them because of there have more nice top goods and cheaper price in there,thanks

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