Editor’s Note: Stock photo used as art.
NATICK – Natick Community Organic Farm Community has taken steps to fix their process and make it safer, after lead was “identified” in their maple syrup.
“In recent months, we have undertaken a holistic review of our maple syrup production, consistent with our ongoing efforts to assure that our farming and food production processes reflect current best practices and to be eligible for a Massachusetts Commonwealth Quality Seal for our maple syrup. As part of that effort, we tested our sugaring buckets, equipment, and maple syrup for lead,” said Executive Director Casey Townsend and Mary DeBlois, President of the Board of Directors in an email this afternoon, February 7.
“The testing identified the presence of lead in our maple syrup to be below the allowable Massachusetts limit of 250 parts per billion and the federal limit of 500 parts per billion,” wrote the duo.
“Through testing, we traced a source of lead to the galvanized metal buckets, older taps, and canner that were used to collect sap and bottle syrup. While the presence of lead in the broader environment makes it impossible to reduce levels to zero, we have replaced our equipment to get the levels lower,” said Townsend and DeBlois.
“All of the buckets, older taps and canner have been removed from our maple sugaring process,” announced the duo today. “The leadership of Natick Community Organic Farm takes our responsibility as a provider of healthy, locally sourced food products very seriously and we thought it was important to share this information with you. If this information is concerning to you, we encourage you to consult with your primary care physician.”
based on the testing, the Natick farm took a number of steps, including:
- Removing any remaining syrup in our store from circulation to prevent it from being served or sold to anyone.
- Consulting with several maple sugaring extension agents and scientists who provided guidance on reducing lead to the lowest possible levels.
- Replacing the metal buckets with plastic ones, obtained a new canner, and discarded any older taps, based on advice provided by experts.
The leaders of the farm said they shared their information with the Town of Natick partners and provided them with details on their plans to address the issue.
“New equipment, updated training, and other improvements to our maple syrup production are now in place for this season,” said the farm’s leadership.
“We will continue to consult experts for updated guidance on best practices and test our syrup annually. In addition, we will continue to pursue the Commonwealth Quality Seal certification,” said the farm’s leadership in an email today, February 7.