‘Liquid gold’ industry threatened as Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers fear burglars will sell on black market
Thieves have made off with a “considerable amount” of maple syrup from a warehouse in Quebec, police have said.
The warehouse, in St-Louis-de-Blandford, stocked more than $30m worth of the product. Police said it was too early to say how much had been stolen.
Quebec provincial sergeant Claude Denis said on Friday that the warehouse stored more than 10m pounds (4.54m kilograms) of maple syrup.
The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers says they discovered the missing syrup when a routine inventory turned up empty barrels.
It said in a statement: “The federation always acts with caution to protect producers’ harvests. The St-Louis-de-Blandford warehouse had been secured by a fence and locks, and visited regularly.”
It is believed that the thieves decanted the syrup into other containers, with the intent of selling it on.
The federation said that if the thieves attempted to sell the syrup, the whole industry would be affected. “It is crucial to identify those responsible for this crime,” the federation said.
Quebec produces 70 to 80% of the world’s maple syrup. Most of the exported product is sold in the United States.
Sylvain Charlebois, a food policy researcher at the University of Guelph, told the Globe and Mail that it would be hard to track the contraband syrup. “It is going to be problematic, one way or the other, whether it’s to sell through proper channels or dealing with the black market,” he said.
Anne-Marie Granger Godbout, executive director of the maple syrup federation, attempted to reassure consumers. “We still have enough maple syrup. There will be no shortage,” she told the Globe and Mail.