A consortium of Maple associations asked the FDA to take enforcement actions against a variety of companies that use the terms maple but whose product does not contain any. This misbranded group of products generally declares “maple” on their packaging as a characterizing ingredient even where maple syrup is not actually present in the product.
As claimed by the association, the term “maple” has long been used and understood to refer to “maple syrup.” Maple syrup, a premium ingredient, has a material bearing on the price and/or consumer acceptance of food products that contain it, which is why it is frequently an ingredient named in the title properly labeled to prevent consumer confusion.
As further claimed by the Associations, this unchecked misbranding has an adverse impact on manufacturers of products containing real maple syrup, as it allows cheaper products not containing premium ingredients to compete with those actually containing maple syrup. Further, it deceives consumers into believing they are purchasing a premium product when, in fact, they have a product of substantially lower quality.
The letter requests the FDA take enforcement actions to stop the misbranding of this class of products, either by removing the maple branding from the packaging, or by adding maple syrup – a substance derived from the heat treatment of sap from the maple tree of foods or displayed on its packaging. Thus, if a product name includes “maple,” or its packaging emphasizes the presence of maple (e.g., through vignettes of maple syrup, leaves, and trees), but the product does not actually contain any maple syrup, it is unlawfully misbranded under this regulation.
The letter called out the following products as using the term maple without having maple as an ingredient.
MOM Brands’ Better Oats Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal with Flax
Madhava Natural Sweeteners Maple Agave Nectar
Honey Stinger Organic Maple Waffle
Quaker Oats Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal
Quaker Oats Maple & Brown Sugar High Fiber Instant Oatmeal
GU Maple Bacon Energy Gel
Quaker Oats Maple Pecan Raisin Flavored Oatmeal
Hood Ice Cream Maple Walnut
Have you consumed any of these products? Have you consumed other products labeled as containing maple only to find out it contained none? Please share your story with us or contact us directly to inquire about your legal rights.