Wisconsin ranks 4th in the nation behind Vermont, New York and Maine in production of maple syrup. In 2014, Wisconsin producers yielded 200,000 gallons of maple syrup, contributing 6.2 percent of the country’s total maple syrup supply. The 2014 crop was valued at about $3.2 million.
Currently, processors who produce pure maple syrup and concentrated sap and sell these products wholesale to other processors for further processing are exempt from food processing plant licensing as long as their gross receipts are less than $5,000 per year. Maple syrup processors must register their business at no cost with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
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.
You don’t need a license or registration to produce and sell your own maple syrup from any location directly to the end consumer. Regardless of whether or not you need a license, you are responsible for producing a wholesome safe product.
You need a registration if:
You need a food processor license with the department if:
You obtain 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, or
Your annual wholesale (between April 1 and March 31) gross receipts from maple syrup and concentrated sap exceed $5,000.
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 maple syrup 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.
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.
You can grade your maple syrup according to Wisconsin standards, U.S. Department of Agriculture standards, or not at all. Grade standards don’t apply if you process your maple syrup by adding flavoring, coloring, or other ingredients.
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