Honey and Maple Syrup

Selling Maple Syrup

So you’ve just collected a batch of maple syrup and you’re wondering how you can earn a little extra money with it. These are some of the most common questions we get concerning maple syrup. Before you set up your facilities, be sure to contact your local town, village, or city and county governments to find out if there are local ordinances you need to meet to process and/or sell your maple syrup. Farmer’s markets may have their own rules, too.

What kind of license is required?
What kind of facilities and equipment are required?
What is grading?
What are the standards for Wisconsin grades?

What kind of license is required?

You don’t need a license if:

  • You extract, package and sell only your own maple syrup from your own trees, and
  • You don’t process the maple syrup or produce any food products other than maple syrup or concentrated sap.

You need a registration if:

  • You are selling maple syrup and concentrated sap to another processor, and your annual gross receipts don’t exceed $5,000
  • Your gross receipts from maple syrup and concentrated sap do not exceed $5,000 during the year.

Even if you don’t need a license, you do need to follow the other regulations discussed here.

You need a food processor license with the department if:

  • You gather maple syrup from others for bottling, packaging or processing, or
  • You process your own or others’ maple syrup by adding color, flavors or other ingredients, and
  • Your gross receipts from maple syrup and concentrated sap sold at wholesale for further processing exceed $5,000 during the year of registration.

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What kind of facilities and equipment do I need?

Whether or not you need a license, if you’re going to sell your maple syrup, you need a separate room dedicated to your food business with commercial-grade equipment. This means you can’t extract, process, or bottle your honey in the same kitchen where you cook your family meals, or in any room that’s part of your normal living space. Because maple syrup is not a potentially hazardous food, we’re not looking for operating-room sterility, but you do need to have equipment in good repair and maintain good sanitation in the place where you handle maple syrup. Some specifics:

  • The room must have washable floors, walls, and ceilings.
  • You must have adequate light so you can see well enough to keep things sanitary.
  • The room must be properly ventilated to prevent steam and condensation and to keep exhaust air from blowing onto the maple syrup.
  • All the doors and windows must to be well-screened so birds, insects and rodents can’t enter.
  • You must have a three-compartment sink or NSF-approved dishwasher for washing your equipment and utensils. (NSF is a non-profit, non-government organization that develops standards and certifies products for public health).
  • Equipment such as extractors, stoves, sinks, tables, shelving and storage containers must be easily cleanable and in good repair.
  • Utensils like pans, bowls, knives and spoons must be smooth, impervious, and easily cleaned. Just about all utensils manufactured these days meet this requirement.
  • You must keep your facilities and equipment clean and in good repair.
  • Maple syrup that you sell must be packaged in new single use containers or multi-use containers that have been washed, rinsed and sanitized.

Read the entire rule that covers food processing plants here.

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What is grading?

Grading is not about food safety – it’s about quality. It’s voluntary, but if you do choose to grade your maple syrup, you should follow these regulations whether or not you are licensed as either a food processor or food retailer.

You can grade your maple syrup according to Wisconsin standards, U.S. Department of Agriculture standards, or not at all. But if you do, it’s an all-or-nothing proposition. If you sell part of a year’s crop as graded maple syrup, you must sell it all as graded. The only exception is that you can sell ungraded maple syrup from your own premises even if you’ve sold graded maple syrup at a farmer’s market. Grade standards don’t apply if you process your maple syrup by adding flavoring, coloring, or other ingredients.

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What are the standards for Wisconsin grades?

There are three Wisconsin grades for maple syrup: Wisconsin Fancy, Wisconsin Grade A and Wisconsin Manufacturer’s Grade.

Wisconsin Fancy maple syrup:

  • Is lighter than medium amber in color
  • Has a characteristic and pleasant maple flavor
  • Is clear and reasonably free from sediment

Wisconsin Grade A maple syrup:

  • Is no lighter than medium amber nor darker than dark amber in color
  • Has a characteristic maple flavor which may not be as mild as Wisconsin Fancy
  • May contain a trace of sediment

Wisconsin Manufacturer’s Grade maple syrup:

  • Is darker than dark amber in color
  • Has a characteristic maple flavor
  • May contain somewhat more than a trace of sediment

  • Selling Honey