Syrup classification by color

There are two types of classification of maple syrup. The federal government classification and the provincial government classification. Quebec maple syrup producers have the choice to comply with one or the other regulation.

Federal classification

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) controls the safety and quality of maple products in Canada and is responsible for the "Federal" classification of maple syrup. The new classification standard includes 4 categories of syrup:

  • Golden : delicate taste
  • Amber : rich taste
  • Dark : robust taste (dark)
  • Very dark : very strong taste

Provincial Classification

The Quebec government has enacted the Maple Products Regulation which establishes 4 classes of color for maple syrup based on clarity, density and characteristic maple flavor, while ensuring that the product meets all quality standards.

The table opposite gives the details of the four color classes. (Source: Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers)


This classification is obtained by determining the level of light transmission of maple syrup. The degree of light transmission of maple syrup is obtained by the optical method. This analysis technique uses a spectrophotometer.

A continuous light spectrum (white light decomposed by a prism) falls on a mobile screen pierced by a slit that allows only the chosen color to pass. The wave of this color arrives on the body to be studied, crosses it and ends its path on a detector which determines the value of absorption of this light by the body.

Source: Terre de chez-nous / Fédération des producteurs acéricoles du Québec /