Summary Report from the IMSI Board of Directors' Meeting
Location: Capital Hotel & Suites, Ottawa, ON
Date: Tuesday May 7th, 2013
The International Maple Syrup Institute held their quarterly Board of Directors Meeting at the Capital Hotel & Suites in Ottawa, Ontario on Tuesday May 7th, 2013. The meeting was attended by IMSI Directors, IMSI members and invited guests. This summary is being provided in advance of more detailed formal minutes from the meeting, which will be distributed later.
Canadian Senate Reception:
IMSI President Yvon Poitras advised meeting attendees that a Reception of Canadian Senators and Members of Parliament was being hosted by the New Brunswick Maple Syrup Association in the evening after the IMSI Board of Directors meeting. In addition to the New Brunswick Maple Syrup Producers, the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association, the Nova Scotia Maple Syrup Producers Association and Citadelle Cooperative were invited to have information booths at the Reception. Citadelle Cooperative featured the new package developed for maple syrup, which won them the IMSI’s Golden Maple Leaf Award in 2012. Yvon advised the group that as many as 300 may be attending the Reception. Arrangement of Senate Reception is part of ongoing efforts to raise the profile of the IMSI and build relationships with Senators and Members of Parliament, which may be advantageous to the maple industry in the future.
IMSI Financial Report :
IMSI Treasurer presented a quarterly financial report for the IMSI Board, which was accepted by the Board without amendment.
2013 Maple Syrup Supply & Preliminary Crop Report:
IMSI Board of Director representatives from both Canada and the United States reported on the status of maple syrup crop and to a lesser extent markets in their respective jurisdictions. It was reported in February that supply of maple syrup which remained with maple producers in the different states and provinces was quite limited and market demand appeared to be stable or growing, depending on the jurisdiction.
The primary focus of discussions in Ottawa was on crop reports from the different jurisdictions represented at the Board meeting. In general, a very good or bumper crop was reported in most areas with the production of lighter syrups being prevalent, including in Quebec. This relates primarily to the generally cool weather, which was experienced throughout the production season. The quality of syrup produced was reported as excellent in all areas for which reports were available. The production season was protracted with sap collection in some areas extending as early as late January to the end of production in April.
Since many buyers were tight on inventory heading into the 2013 maple production season, the very good crop reported should alleviate any supply issues this year . Since much of the syrup in Quebec’s strategic reserve prior to the production season was comprised of the darker colour classes, the prevalence of lighter syrup produced overall in 2013 should help the maple industry match market demand for the different syrups.
Official crop reports, including statistics for Quebec, are not yet available. Ongoing investment in modern sap collection installations is resulting in very high sap yields in some areas. These yields combined with fairly robust market conditions should result in shorter-term payback on investments in modern maple installations. This willhelp encourage further growth of the maple industry over the next few years.
There was brief discussion regarding the 2012 case of allegedly stolen syrup from a Federation warehouse in Quebec. It has been reported that police have apprehended all or most of the people responsible for this heist and follow-up is in the hands of police and the courts. This matter is still under police investigation with nothing further to report.
IMSI’s Adulteration Testing Assistance Program:
The IMSI continues to facilitate testing of syrup samples in the international marketplace that have been suspected as being adulterated. All IMSI members are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the IMSI’s adulteration testing assistance if they suspect that syrup is adulterated anywhere in the world marketplace.
Dave Chapeskie reviewed the IMSI’s protocol for processing samples suspected of adulteration. Canadian IMSI members who wish to submit samples of syrup for adulteration testing through the IMSI sponsored program, should send the samples directly to Yves Bois of Centre Acer who will facilitate laboratory adulteration testing of these samples in Canada. All US IMSI members should continue to submit syrup samples suspected of adulteration to Tim Perkins at UVM Proctor Maple Research Center who will continue to facilitate laboratory testing of samples in the United States. This arrangement will circumvent potential issues with moving related syrup samples across the US-Canada border and also may increase IMSI member utilization of IMSI’s adulteration testing service. The services offered by the laboratories to be utilized in both Canada and the United States have been judged as satisfactory to complete this work by Tim Perkins, Yves Bois and Dave Chapeskie based on a recent assessment of their capacity.
Samples suspected of adulteration should be taken directly from the marketplace and be shipped to Yves Bois at Centre Acer (Canadian IMSI members) or to Tim Perkins (US IMSI members). The samples must be in original sealed containers and it is recommended, if possible, that four different containers of the syrup be submitted to fully accommodate the sampling required. Only a small amount of syrup is required for the actual adulteration test so small containers of syrup are fine, if they are available.
Since the IMSI’s February 2013 Board of Directors meeting, an IMSI member provided two samples different samples suspected of adulteration taken from the international marketplace to Centre Acer for follow-up. Preliminary assessment of these samples by Centre Acer indicate that that they are probably not adulterated. Further assessment of the samples by an independent Ontario based laboratory is underway.
For further information regarding the IMSI’s adulteration service, please contact IMSI’s Executive Director, Dave Chapeskie.
Misleading Labeling of Syrup Products:
Dave Chapeskie and David Marvin provided an update on the status of Pinnacle Food’s Log Cabin Product. It was mentioned that an independent lawsuit was filed in Vermont against Pinnacle Foods regarding use of the term “all natural” as well as for use of the traditional maple jug design. Dave reported that following consultation with the IMSI’s Executive Committee, he has shared all formal letters of communication between the IMSI and the North American Maple Syrup Council with legal council for the Class Action Lawsuit and requested that the IMSI be kept abreast of developments as the case proceeds.
As follow-up to a request from Dave Chapeskie, Eric Prud’homme of Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) provided the IMSI Board with an interpretation regarding the labeling of syrup products as “Blueberry Maple Syrup” and Vanilla Infused Maple Syrup” . The CFIA interpretation is available to IMSI members from Dave Chapeskie upon request.
There was an extended discussion regarding the serious issue of misrepresentation of products using the word “maple” or words “maple syrup” and sometimes associated with visuals taken from the maple industry in the marketplace both in North America and overseas. Many of these products contain no or very minimal pure maple products. It was agreed that the IMSI as a priority in 2013, should discuss various options for countering this situation. Some options discussed include pursuing Codex or other protection for use of the words “Maple” and/or “Maple Syrup”, use of social media to raise awareness among consumers, targeted lobbying as well as other strategies. It was the prevailing opinion of IMSI Board members in attendance at the meeting that action to address this issue is central to the mandate of the IMSI and that a group comprised of Richard Norman, Mark Harran and Ray Bonenberg would work with Dave Chapeskie to arrange for discussions and develop recommendations for consideration of the IMSI Board .
It was also seen as very important that the IMSI be active in reviewing related regulations in both Canada and the United States. This includes becoming more familiar with existing regulations related to product labeling and reviewing proposals for amendment of regulations when the opportunity presents itself.
Isopropyl Alcohol Use for Sanitation of Maple Tubing Systems :
Following the IMSI board of Directors meeting in February 2013 in Burlington, Vermont, the IMSI Executive Director was advised by Henry Marckres of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) that some isopropyl alcohol products being sold to maple syrup producers are not approved for use in Vermont and possibly in other States. VAAFM issued a formal advisory to maple producers in Vermont regarding the use of these products (copy appended to this summary).
At the Board meeting, it was clarified by Canadian Food Inspection Agency(CFIA) staff that a number of isopropyl alcohol products are listed for use as maple sanitizers in Canada at present. Some other isopropyl alcohols are also CFIA listed as cleaners or sanitizers for general use, in which case producers must verify the labels before use to see if they are appropriate for use in maple. This acceptance of use does not extend to the United States. However, it was reported that one or more maple supply vendors are currently actively pursuing the appropriate registration of selected isopropyl alcohol products for use in maple spout / tubing sanitation in the United States.
CFIA officials advised IMSI Board that the Canadian government will be reviewing the isopropyl alcohol products acceptance currently listed for use in Canada in light of any new data available, to ensure that there continues to be no food safety concerns with the use of listed products.
All maple supply vendors are strongly encouraged to remain vigilant regarding the sale of isopropyl alcohol products, ensuring that the appropriate food grade guarantees on their products are available to producers upon request, covering food grade standards and/or any applicable government policies or regulations.
Please contact Dave Chapeskie for further details.
Standardized Maple Grades and Nomenclature:
Dave Chapeskie assisted by others reported on the status of the IMSI’s Standard International Grades initiative. The discussion focused on the status of regulatory approvals in the United States and Canada. Progress continues to be made in moving the IMSI’s proposal through the regulatory process at the federal level in Canada (CFIA) and the United States (USDA). The IMSI proposal has now been approved by both the Senate and Legislature in Vermont. Henry Marckres reported that he has been authorized to write the new rules for Vermont.
Dave Chapeskie will now be preparing a chart mapping out progress in moving the IMSI proposal through the regulatory approvals process in both Canada and the United States. This chart will be distributed to the IMSI members when it is ready.
The IMSI will continue to urge regulatory authorities to expedite the regulatory approvals process and related regulatory amendments and will continue to monitor progress with periodic reports to the membership.
IMSI Sponsored Awards (2013):
Dave Chapeskie mentioned that the IMSI continues to sponsor two awards annually, the Golden Maple Leaf Award, which recognizes innovation in the North American and International Maple Syrup Industry, and the Lynn Reynolds Memorial Leadership Award, which recognizes outstanding service and accomplishments of an individual for the North American/International Maple Syrup Industry.
There was discusson and agreement that IMSI members become more engaged in considering and potentially submitting nominations for the two IMSI awards. The IMSI members are strongly encouraged to submit nominations for the two awards to the IMSI’s Executive Director no later than August 31st, 2013. Requirements for these two awards along with application forms (new) are appended to this meeting summary. The IMSI Executive Committee and Board of Directors is hopeful that all IMSI members will consider nominating worthy recipients for two IMSI Awards in 2013. IMSI Directors in attendance at the Ottawa meeting, felt that it is very important to recognize and celebrate achievements contributing to the advancement of the maple industry and that more could be done in this regard .
IMSI Sponsored Maple Grading School:
Dave Chapeskie reported on the IMSI sponsored maple grading school, since neither Kathy Hopkins nor Henry Marckres were able to attend the meeting. Participants in the schools continue to greatly value the educational experience offered. Dave mentioned that there will be three school offerings in 2013 in Skowhegan, Maine (May 10th& 11th), in Cornwall, Ontario (July 9th and 10th), and in Fairfield, Vermont (October 4th and 5th).
The IMSI members can learn more about the IMSI sponsored Grading School and its offerings by accessing the University of Maine – Cooperative Extension website with the following link:
http://extension.umaine.edu/maple-grading-school/ Applicants for the grading school may register on-line.
If additional information is required please contact Kathy Hopkins at 207-474-9622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2013 IMSI Board of Directors Meetings
Tuesday, August 20th – Bear Cub Inn, Orono, Maine
Wednesday, October 23rd - Delta Beauséjour Hotel, Moncton, New Brunswick
2013 IMSI/NAMSC Annual Meetings
The 2013 Annual NAMSC-IMSI Meetings will be held from October 21-24th at Delta, Beauséjour, Moncton, N.B. The IMSI Annual General Meeting will be held on Thursday, October 24th. A tentative program outline is appended to this meeting summary. Further details and information will be distributed to IMSI members when it is received by the IMSI’s Executive Director. For further information, contact Yvon Poitras at email@example.com.
Dave Chapeskie, R.P.F.,
Executive Director, International Maple Syrup Institute
May 23rd, 2013