We may be watching civil liberties and federal programs fall like leaves in Montpelier, but Senator Patrick Leahy (D, Vt.) is moving aggressively to address the need for yet another federal crime . . . the crime mislabeling products as containing maple syrup. That’s right, despite criticism of the over-criminalization of America (here and here and here), we need to add a federal law on maple syrup mobsters.
Let me be clear: this is, and always has been, a pro-maple syrup blog. However, the question is why a special crime is necessary on the federal level. This is a response to the discovery of a single man selling fake Vermont “maple” syrup that did not in fact contain maple syrup. Sounds like simple fraud to me but the crime appears to have been so shocking to Vermonters that we have to distinguish this fraud from other forms of fraud.
In addition, while slashing environmental, education, and science budgets, Congress just approved a $70,000 federal grant to help market Vermont maple syrup.
Of course, it is reassuring that, while we do not prosecute people for torture and alleged war crimes, we will be pursuing anyone who lies about the maple content of their syrup. I wonder if Dick Cheney or Alberto Gonzales have produced any homemade syrup products.