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Farm Bill Includes Major Victory for Maine Maple Syrup and Honey Producers

Washington, D.C. - In a significant win for Maine’s maple syrup and honey producers, a provision that builds upon U.S. Senator Susan Collins’ (R-ME) work to prevent the enactment of a confusing labeling requirement was included in the 2018 Farm Bill.  The legislation passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support and now awaits the President’s signature. 


As a member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins secured an amendment in the agriculture funding bill earlier this year to protect pure maple syrup and honey producers from a misguided Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule that would have required single-ingredient sweeteners to have an “added sugar” label. Under the requirement, all sugar in these products would have been denoted as “added sugar.”  This could have misled consumers into believing that pure maple syrup includes added high fructose corn syrup or cane sugar.  Senator Collins’ amendment will still support public health and consumer awareness by retaining the FDA’s ability to state the percent daily value of sugars the products contain.


The Farm Bill builds on Senator Collins’ efforts by including a provision that is virtually identical to her agriculture appropriations amendment.


“This commonsense provision, which mirrors an amendment I secured in the agriculture funding bill, will prevent the harmful consequences the FDA’s labeling rule would have had on Maine’s maple syrup and honey producers.  Although the FDA’s rule was well-intentioned, it would have created widespread consumer confusion and negatively affected many family-owned businesses,” said Senator Collins.  “I am pleased that an overwhelming bipartisan majority of my colleagues joined me in advancing this provision to support this integral part of our agriculture community.”


In June, Senator Collins met with MaryAnne Kinney, the owner of Kinney Sugar House in Knox, who along with other producers informed Senator Collins how the FDA’s proposed labeling rule would impact her business and the maple syrup and honey industries.  Senator Collins raised these concerns directly with FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who announced in September that the FDA is “continuing to work on a revised approach,” based on feedback from lawmakers and the industry.