The Case of the Disappearing Maple Syrup

Food News

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File this under Weird Food News of the Day: There's been a major heist at the warehouse in Quebec that holds 80% (!!!) of the world's maple syrup!

Last week police in Quebec reported that thieves had stolen a "considerable" amount (i.e. millions of dollars worth) of maple syrup from a large warehouse in St-Louis-de-Blandford. The heist has turned attention to Quebec's immense maple syrup reserves which, believe it or not, hold up to 80 percent of the world's maple syrup. In fact, the one warehouse in question holds "nearly the equivalent of half the entire U.S. production of maple syrup in a year," according to Anne-Marie Granger Godbout, the executive director of The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers. Um... wow!

The missing syrup was discovered last week when, during a routine inventory at the warehouse site in St-Louis-de-Blandford, Quebec, officials realized hundreds of 45-gallon barrels were empty. Apparently this isn't the first time maple syrup has disappeared from the warehouse. Quebec is considered "the Saudi Arabia of the syrup world," according to Business Week. 75 percent of Canadian maple syrup is directly exported to the U.S, and Godbout notes that U.S. maple syrup producers had a particularly disappointing 2012 season, which "[triggered] more demand for Canadian syrup."

Maple syrup is quite a huge commodity, and this theft is turning out to be a grave problem:

[The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers] are the protectors of the sap, the maple barons who have an OPEC-like sway in syrup circles and represent some 13,500 producers. Along with handling bulk syrup sales and marketing, the federation is responsible for what it calls the "global strategic maple syrup reserves." Much like oil reserves, those backup supplies are supposed to protect against the vagaries of bad weather and volatile prices. Last week, everyone thought Quebec was heading into the winter with 37 million pounds in reserve. More than a quarter of that is now gone.

You're probably wondering (as I was) how the thieves managed to steal almost 10 million pounds or roughly 15,000 barrels of syrup. All that's known is that the thieves managed to tap the barrels and drain them into their own mode of transportation. What a mystery!

Read More:
Quebec Police Investigate Theft Of Millions Of Dollars Worth Of Maple Syrup | The Huffington Post
Maple Syrup Heist Leaves Quebec in a Sticky Mess | Business Week
Why Does Canada Have a Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve? | The Atlantic

Related: Solving a Mystery: Why Do Maple Syrup Containers Have Tiny Handles?

(Images: Left: Shepherd's Pie Hold; Right: National Post)