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Maple Syrup Tours Ended Due To Terrorism

From Vermont’s Times Argus:

Popular tour shuttered over terrorism concerns

By Peter Hirschfeld
Aug 12, 2010

ST. JOHNSBURY — A popular factory tour at famous maple syrup company has become one of the more obscure casualties of Sept. 11, 2001.

For more than a century, Maple Grove Farms has been bottling syrup and making maple candies at its production facility in St. Johnsbury. For much of that history, curious visitors could stop by to watch the factory floor in action.

Recently however, the company, the largest maple syrup wholesaler in the nation, had to shutter the tour as a result of “food-defense” concerns that have sprouted since terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., nearly nine years ago.

“The times have changed, and we must change with them,” says Steve Jones, general manager at Maple Grove Farms.

The federal government has not instituted a blanket prohibition on factory tours. But post-9/11 guidelines developed by the Department of Homeland Security and Food and Drug Administration have shaped the voluntary food-safety standards that companies like Maple Grove must meet in order to sell their wares to major retailers.

“One of fallouts of those guidelines was to restrict access to food plants a lot more than they ever have been in past,” says Dave Fusaro, editor-in-chief at Food Processing, an industry trade magazine. “Maybe the biggest loss was the plant tour. Used to be you could bring a Boy Scout troop in and walk right through. That ain’t going to happen anymore.”

Maple Grove, which bottles about 12 million pounds of maple syrup a year, is a mainstay on tour-bus itineraries. Jones says the company welcomes close to 120,000 people annually to its St. Johnsbury factory

[R]etailers, he says, require a so-called “Safety Quality Food” certification, a sort of seal of quality for food safety in the United States. John Schultz, director of business operations for Safe Quality Food — the entity that created the standards — says two “food-defense” guidelines added since 9/11 have impacted factory tours.

“The first is being able to restrict certain personnel to their production area, and the other is regarding a facilities’ ability to manage the coming and going of visitors to the facility,” Schultz says.

That doesn’t mean production facilities can’t have tours, he says.

“In some instances you may have a walkway behind a Plexiglass partition so they can invite people in to see what they do without the possibility of interaction with the food supply,” Schultz says.

Jones says retrofitting the St. Johnsbury building to satisfy the standard would be too costly

Frank Busta, director emeritus of the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, says the new guidelines aren’t an overreaction.

“Let me paint you a scenario,” he says. “If someone got to a vulnerable location and got something into 1,000 gallons of maple syrup that went out in 6 oz. bottles, and that got distributed rapidly in some big supermarket chain — wow. What a catastrophe.”

Busta says his organization, a “Homeland Security Center of Excellence,” has conceived “a number of scenarios that would be absolutely catastrophic if certain select agents or toxins were introduced at vulnerable points during the food production supply chain.”

“It’s not about trying to make problems for the small person,” Busta says. “These are real concerns.” …

Once again, Happy Ramadan!

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, August 13th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

15 Responses to “Maple Syrup Tours Ended Due To Terrorism”

  1. Reality Bytes says:

    “Mrs. Buttersworth Goes Postal” Film at Eleven.

  2. GetBackJack says:

    What would Wyatt Earp do? No … make that what DID Wyatt Earp do?

    Answer: he rode them all down and killed every red sash he could find. And southern Arizona was peaceful for law abiding citizens.

  3. artboyusa says:

    ABU & TARIQ, the Angry Muslim Brothers, ooze back across our wide open borders and land in “A Sticky Situation”!

    “Abu! It’s me; open up”.

    “How do I know it’s you? You could be anybody”.

    “I’m not anybody; I’m Tariq”.

    “Hmmm, so you say, honey tongued stranger. Yet the wise man doubts even his own family, especially if it includes you. Okay…what’s the password?”

    “Joe sent me, you misbegotten son of a she-camel with learning difficulties you”.

    “Ha! That’s the old password; what’s the new password, you passive bedmate of Crusaders and Jews?”

    “Oh in the name of the pedophile tendencies of the Prophet (PBUH) I’ve had enough of this foolishness. I’ll just use my key”.

    “Fine. Hello Tariq, did you get the stuff?”

    “What stuff?”

    “You know, the stuff for Operation Fatal Waffle”.

    “Oh, that stuff. The poison. Yeah, I’ve got it. See?”

    “Excellent! Soon a million infidels will uncap the sticky tops of their maple syrup bottles and greedily pour the amber fluid into gleaming, languid pools upon their pancakes and their forbidden pork products, little knowing that the first taste of that poisoned (thanks to us truly) nectar means instant death!”

    “IHahaha! Imagine them keeling over, gagging and writhing, clutching their scorched throats before the icy hand of Death seizes their worthless infidel lives in his unforgiving grasp! What a victory for the Religion of Peace!”

    “Truly! Now let us inventory this holy poison. Let’s see: high fructose corn syrup, sotolon, fenugreek…”


    “Silence, ill educated clown who lusts after goats and soft fruit! Have you never heard of fenugreek? Everyone knows what that is. Its fen from Greece, as the name implies. Fenugreek, trace elements of amino acids, thickening agents…”

    “But all this stuff is already in maple syrup! Look, it says so on this label; it’s not poisonous!”

    “Not poisonous? Have you tasted the stuff they sell as maple syrup lately? Yuck! That gunk is deadly!”

    • Reality Bytes says:

      Artfully Done As Alway!

      Riffing on a few classics I see.

      From the Marx Bros “What’s the Password”


      And of course, “Dave’s Not Here” (Hey! It was the 70’s OK?)


    • proreason says:

      visit more frequently

    • jobeth says:

      Art Boy….How I’ve missed you!

      From the first couple of sentences I had tears of laughter visualizing your epic!

    • artboyusa says:

      Thank you, friends. I haven’t been “away”, not exactly, but the docs say I’m responding well to the treatment -when I look at the TV now I just hear the voices of the people who are actually on there (which is a nice change) – and I’m ready now for a graduated return to the community and if I do well the tag can come off. They’ve promised to help get me a job too, collecting cans and stuff. Anyway, there’s a new A&T story on the “Obama Backpedals” thread. Hope you like it!

  4. wardmama4 says:

    blanket prohibition on factory tours. But post-9/11 guidelines developed by the Department of Homeland Security and Food and Drug Administration have shaped the voluntary food-safety standards that companies like Maple Grove must meet in order to sell their wares to major retailers

    Ok let’s play what Liberal Dems put into this possibly safety minded action after 9/11 that appears to be rearing it’s ugly head right now – Yes kiddies you are correct – must meet in order to sell their wares to major retailers – So it is ok to allow terrorists to walk through your facilities if you are going to do just local or regional business?

    Only a Liberal could manage to kill – think about youth groups such as Boy Scouts and JA that would do tours such as this – future capitalists and of course reduce the opportunity for profit from companies all under the guise of ‘security’.

    And now, how many years after 9/11 is this little gem being enacted? Hmmm, I wonder why – I guess Father Obama just wants everything good American serfs citizens to buy to be gov made, gov approved, Union shops. Can’t have any of that vile capitalistic greed (umm hey JournoLists out there – lets compare oh say, CEO salaries and bennies to Union Thugs Leaders – just for some honest grins).

    • Liberals Make Great Speedbumps says:

      “And now, how many years after 9/11 is this little gem being enacted?”

      I work in the food industry and I can tell you that this isn’t new. Our plant used to give tours for family & friends annually and that came to a screeching halt after 9/11. There have been changes implemented in the industry concerning food security since 9/11 and they have been continuously reviewed and modified since then.

  5. NoNeoCommies says:

    Oh man!
    Does this mean the end of Jelly Belly and Beer Brewery tours?
    No more walking past the vats at the winery?
    Life is over!

  6. jobeth says:

    Now if this maple syrup company would be smart they would just daily surround the place with strips of bacon!

    Problem solved.

  7. eaglewingz08 says:

    But if say thousands of mexican illegal farm workers transmit ecoli to thousands of Americans that’s not enough for the feds to shut down the illegals and transport them back to their native country?

  8. proreason says:

    Oh those insidious terrorists.

    Compromising the maple syrup supply.

    Who else would have thought of it?

  9. artboyusa says:

    “No more walking past the vats at the winery?..” what walking past? When me and Mrs Artboy toured the vineyards in Napa Valley we got so loaded we had to take a nap in the car before we dared to drive home.

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