MONTPELIER, Vt. — Vermont has a long history of maple syrup production and fiercely protects the purity of its brand with grades called "fancy," ''grade A dark amber" and "grade B."
But other states use different grading terminology. To avoid confusing consumers, it's considering joining with other syrup-producing states and Canadian provinces in a standard grading system. The system would also give flavor descriptions intended to give more information to consumers.
But some Vermont producers worry the state's vaunted brand will lose its reputation if it doesn't stand out from the rest — as they say it should.
The USDA plans to adopt the new terms in 2013. Vermont will hold a series of public hearings this month, and then the state agriculture secretary will decide whether to adopt the standards.