Six senators introduced legislation that would make selling fake maple syrup a felony offense leading to fines and up to five years in prison.

The Maple Agriculture Protection and Law Enforcement (MAPLE) Act is a response to what chief sponsor Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyKavanaugh paper chase heats up Senate Dems tell Trump: Don't meet with Putin one-on-one Overnight Defense: Fears rise over Trump-Putin summit | McCain presses Trump to hold Putin 'accountable' for hacking | Pentagon does damage control after NATO meet MORE (D-Vt.) and others say is the increasing practice of cheating Vermont, Upstate New York and other maple syrup regions by selling inferior, fake syrup.

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I have been alarmed by the growing number of individuals and businesses claiming to sell genuine Vermont maple syrup when they are in fact selling an inferior product that is not maple syrup at all, Leahy said Thursday. This is fraud, plain and simple, and it undermines a key part of Vermonts economy and reputation for quality that has been hard-earned through Vermonters hard work.

He added that others in the syrup-producing regions of Maine, New York and other states also have been hurt. Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick McConnell: Senate to confirm Kavanaugh by Oct. 1 Overnight Health Care: Watchdog finds Tom Price improperly used funds on flights | Ex-Novartis CEO sent drug pricing proposal to Cohen | HHS staffers depart after controversial social media posts MORE (R-Maine), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandMidterms will show voters are tired of taking back seat to Wall Street McConnell: I won't be intimidated by protesters Dem senator: Kavanaugh would 'turn back the clock' on women's health care MORE (D-N.Y.), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOcasio-Cortez to campaign with Bernie Sanders in Kansas Sanders: Trump should confront Putin over Mueller probe indictments Booker seizes on Kavanaugh confirmation fight MORE (I-Vt.), Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerRed-state Dem tells Schumer to 'kiss my you know what' on Supreme Court vote Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick Trump's latest win: More Americans are saying, 'I quit!' MORE (D-N.Y.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) are all co-sponsors.

Under current law, selling fake maple syrup is a misdemeanor offense.

Under the bill, S. 1742, selling fake maple syrup would be listed as an act of fraud that is seen as a felony offense, along with falsifying bank entries, mortgage transactions, loan applications and citizenship records, along with dozens of other activities.

We need to make sure that those who intentionally deceive consumers get a trip to jail, not a slap on the wrist,” Leahy said. Schemers should not easily be able to sully the seal of quality that is associated with genuine Vermont maple syrup.

The bill specifically lists what qualifies as real maple syrup: a liquid food derived from heating tree sap or mixing water and maple sugar. In either case, not less than 66 percent of the weight of the product must be soluble solids derived solely from the sap of a species of tree in the genus Acer.