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 Defense: Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill | House panel looks to help military sexual assault survivors | US increases airstrikes to help Afghan forces fight Taliban On The Money: Schumer, Warren call on Biden to extend student loan pause | IMF estimates 6 percent global growth this year Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill 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 CollinsOvernight Health Care: CDC advises vaccinated to wear masks in high-risk areas | Biden admin considering vaccine mandate for federal workers Eight Republicans join Democrats to confirm head of DOJ environmental division The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Crunch time for bipartisan plan; first Jan. 6 hearing today MORE (R-Maine), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandHouse panel looks to help military sexual assault survivors To make energy green, remove red tape Equilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Clean power repurposes dirty power MORE (D-N.Y.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersWomen's March endorses Nina Turner in first-ever electoral endorsement GOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden Democrats brace for slog on Biden's spending plan MORE (I-Vt.), Charles SchumerChuck Schumer84 mayors call for immigration to be included in reconciliation Senate infrastructure talks on shaky grounds Could Andrew Cuomo — despite scandals — be re-elected because of Trump? 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.