10.11.11

Leahy: Vermont Nets $70,000 To Help Market Vt. Maple Products

Senator Readies Bill To Crack Down On Fraudulent Maple Products

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (TUESDAY, Oct. 11) – Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy Tuesday traveled to Dakin Farms Store in South Burlington to announce that Vermont has received a $70,000 federal grant to help support marketing of the state’s signature maple products. 

The grant is funded through the U.S. Forest Service and supports value-added use of Vermont forests, including the marketing of maple products produced in Vermont.  Over the last four years Leahy has helped secure $250,000 for Vermont through the grant program.  The grants have helped to streamline consumer access to Vermont’s maple industry on the Internet, creating a single web portal for Vermont maple products, linking consumers to individual producers and retailers in Vermont.

“Pure maple syrup is synonymous with Vermont, and it is one of the hallmarks of our economy,” said Leahy.  “For the last four years, this funding has helped Vermont’s maple producers defy the odds and increase sales despite the weak economy.  This collaboration has helped producers expand the market for their products, helping small our businesses right here at home.”

Leahy was joined at the event by Sam Cutting Jr., the owner and Dakin Farms, and Chuck Ross, Vermont’s Secretary of Agriculture.

Cutting said, “For over 50 years my family and I have not only sold pure Vermont maple syrup in Vermont, across the country and around the world under our own label, but, we have also worked closely with the maple industry , state and federal government to promote and maintain the integrity of the ‘Vermont Maple Brand’ for the entire industry.  It is critical to stop any consumer deception that comes about as a result of a business, industry or individual cheating and using our hard earned and well established ‘Vermont Name’ for personal profit with inferior artificial maple products.  Doing so is no minor offense.  It is a major crime and one that cripples our industry and the many hard working family farmers and business people within it.”

Leahy on Tuesday also announced that he is developing legislation to more effectively punish and deter deceptive and fraudulent sale of maple syrup.  Recently, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigation revealed that a Rhode Island man has been selling fake Vermont “maple” syrup, when the product in fact contained no syrup at all.  The bill will create a new federal felony offense and ramp up the sentences that prosecutors can seek for people who defraud consumers and farmers by intentionally and deceptively mislabeling fake maple products.  Leahy, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, is expected to introduce the legislation as early as next week.

 

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