Vermont Sen. Leahy to seek maple protection law

October 11, 2011 - 1:30 PM

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy says he's planning to introduce legislation to make it a federal crime for people to mislabel products as containing maple syrup.

Leahy said Tuesday the legislation is needed to protect Vermont's maple crop from fraud.

The move came in the aftermath of a recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigation that found a man who had been selling fake Vermont "maple" syrup, when the product contained no syrup.

Leahy's proposal would create a new federal felony offense and increase the sentences that prosecutors can seek for people who defraud consumers and farmers by intentionally mislabeling maple products.

Leahy, a Democrat, announced his plan at the same time he was announcing the state had received a $70,000 federal grant to help market Vermont maple syrup.