As someone who believes we should all know exactly what is in our food, where it comes from, and how it was made, I'm surprised by my reaction to this legislation before the U.S. Senate. Senators Patrick Leahy (Vermont, of course) and Susan Collins (Maine) want stiffer penalties for those fakers who pass off imitation maple syrup as the real deal. Currently the crime is a misdemeanor, and they're looking to make it a felony.
Look, I think anyone passing off fake stuff as real should be punished, and I certainly don't want to give my family crappy fake maple syrup that's loaded with corn syrup. However, can we get some perspective here, people?
We live in a country that doesn't require food manufacturers to not poison us with antibiotics in meat. We don't know if our food has been genetically modified or not because no labeling is in place. As someone who has celiac disease, I can't even rely on accurate labels to tell me if gluten is in my food or not. I'm sorry, but fake maple syrup is the least of our problems.
I'm not normally one to eschew legislation that could be helpful to consumers of food (you know, all of us), but I just wish these Senators had applied this much thought and effort in cleaning up our entire food supply, instead of the one that goes on pancakes. People are dying from listeria and getting sickened with salmonella CONSTANTLY. Does fake maple syrup kill people? No? Then let's re-focus, shall we?
Shut down unhealthy factory farms until they're clean enough to not kill us all, let us know what foods have been genetically modified and could be harmful to our bodies, and then let's discuss the finer points of waffle accessories.
I love maple syrup, I do. But until we can get serious about keeping our food supply safe, this effort to increase punishment of syrup fakers is a joke.
Do you think this MAPLE Act is a great idea?
Image via Kai Hendry/Flickr