"We are very proud of the high-quality maple syrup produced in Vermont," independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a news release. "Some of us think it's the best in the world. We think it is terribly wrong for people to produce a phony product and call it Vermont maple syrup."Leahy, who as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is well positioned to advance the legislation, introduced it in the wake of a recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigation that found a Rhode Island man had been selling cane sugar-based syrup as maple syrup.
Under existing law, fraudulently representing something as maple syrup is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year behind bars.
"Too often, those who are willing to endanger our livelihoods in pursuit of their profits see fines as just a cost of doing business," Leahy said in the statement. "We need to make sure that those who intentionally deceive consumers get a trip to jail, not a slap on the wrist."