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 LeahyOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Dakota Access pipeline to remain in operation despite calls for shutdown | Biden hopes to boost climate spending by B | White House budget proposes .4B for environmental justice Biden .5T budget proposes major hike in social programs Biden hopes to boost climate spending by billion 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 CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Biden-GOP infrastructure talks off to rocky start Moderate GOP senators and Biden clash at start of infrastructure debate MORE (R-Maine), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Gillibrand2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet Manhattan law firm named as lead in Cuomo impeachment investigation Senate Democrats call on DHS for details on response to Portland protests MORE (D-N.Y.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersHillicon Valley: Amazon wins union election — says 'our employees made the choice' On The Money: Biden .5T budget proposes major hike in social programs | GOP bashes border, policing provisions Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists MORE (I-Vt.), Charles SchumerChuck SchumerThe first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally H.R. 1/S. 1: Democrats defend their majorities, not honest elections McCarthy asks FBI, CIA for briefing after two men on terror watchlist stopped at border 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.