Natick Community Organic Farm has notified the public that it’s making changes to its maple syrup production process to reduce the amount of lead that might show up in its sweet product.
In a letter sent from Casey Townsend, executive director at the farm, and Mary DeBlois, president of the Board of Directors, they wrote: “In recent months, we have undertaken a holistic review of our maple syrup production, consistent with our ongoing efforts to assure that our farming and food production processes reflect current best practices and to be eligible for a Massachusetts Commonwealth Quality Seal for our maple syrup. As part of that effort, we tested our sugaring buckets, equipment, and maple syrup for lead.”
Testing uncovered the presence of lead in the farm’s syrup, though they stressed at levels below the allowable state limit of 250 parts per billion. The culprit: galvanized metal buckets, older taps, and the canner used to collect sap and bottle syrup.
As a result, the farm kicked the buckets, and ditched the older taps and canner. The buckets have been replaced with plastic ones, and new training and other improvements to the production process have been introduced.
Remaining syrup in the farm’s store has also been taken out of circulation.
Due to lead in the environment, the farm acknowledges it is unlikely to be able to remove all traces of lead from its product.
Maple sugaring tours
Want to learn more about the maple sugaring process?
The farm offers 60-minute tours for $9 that cover the history of sugaring techniques and a look at how the farm handles this business. The all-ages tours start on Feb. 19 and registration is open.
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