NEW! Sugarhouse Certification Program
It's been a long time coming, but we're ready to share our new Sugarhouse Certification Program with you! This Program is our interpretation of current food safety rules. While participating in the Certification Program is voluntary, following food safety rules is required for sugar makers. We've worked to anticipate barriers to participating in this program, from cost to templates for processes and procedures. You'll find all of the details below, but feel free to give us a call with any questions!
Our goal is to offer an accessible, yet comprehensive program that will ensure sugar makers are using the highest standards to make quality Vermont maple syrup, maple sugar and maple cream in accordance with all food safety standards. We will work with sugar makers to ensure that we answer any questions you might have ahead of Certification, that we offer a full complement of sample policies and documents for your use and that you are ready for Certification before we arrive for an onsite visit.
Before you sign up for the Program, please read through this information, including the Certification Checklist, to ensure you understand how it works and what will be expected. In addition, we held an "Introduction to Certification" session on Zoom on May 12, 2021 and offered space for sugar makers to ask any questions about the Program. You can watch that session online here.
How Does the Program Work?
We have contracted with four Sugarhouse Food Safety Specialists to complete the Certifications. Once you sign up and submit payment, you'll be assigned a Specialist based on your location. The Specialist will schedule time to talk to you on the phone or via Zoom to complete the work that can be done offsite - documentation review and answering any questions specific to your operation. Once that work is complete, they'll schedule a site visit to work through the rest of the Checklist. To better illustrate the steps from "I'm interested in the Certification Program" to "I'm ready to sign up" to "I'm Certified!", we've created a simple flowchart to show you how it all works. Click here to see the flowchart.
Frequently Asked Questions
We've anticipated that you have some questions about the Program. So we've compiled a list of questions and answers, and we'll continue to add to it as we hear feedback from you. Click here to read the current FAQs and please be in touch if you have more questions!
What Does Certification Cost?
The VMSMA Education Committee and Board worked to try and make the price of Certification as fair and equitable for sugar makers. We want to make this Program accessible to all sizes of sugar makers. It's important to remember that this is a two year Certification.
|# of Taps||Cost of Certification|
|2,000 - 3,999||$200|
|4,000 - 5,999||$300|
|6,000 - 7,999||$350|
|8,000 - 9,999||$400|
|10,000 - 14,999||$450|
|15,000 - 19,999||$550|
|20,000 - 29,999||$650|
|30,000 - 39,999||$750|
|40,000 - 49,999||$850|
VMSMA’s Sugarhouse Certification Checklist focuses only on the manufacturing of pure maple syrup. It is intended to help organize materials and assess current food safety preparedness. This checklist is NOT itself a food safety plan; it is only an assessment tool to assist in the development of a plan for a specific sugarhouse to follow good food safety practices.
The Checklist references sections of Title 21 (Food and Drugs), Part 117 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) that define current good manufacturing practices, hazard analysis and risk-based preventative controls for human food. You can find the entire text of Chapter 21, Part 117 online here.
Certification Resources & Appendices
The VMSMA Education Committee has compiled a list of resources that will be useful in completing the necessary documentation for Certification. Many of you will already have documentation and a sugarhouse operational manual, some of you may not. If you're starting from scratch, or looking to compare your procedures to our templates, review our templates and other resources. The majority of our templates are available as Word documents so that you can download them or print them and edit them to fit the needs of your sugarhouse. Click here to see the full list.
Certification Application & Payment
Once you're ready to apply for Certification, you can complete the Application, save it as a pdf on your computer, and either email it our Executive Director (email@example.com) or mail it to us at VMSMA, PO Box 81, Waitsfield VT 05673. Payment is required at the time of application.
In order to participate, you must be a current VMSMA member. If you have not paid for your current calendar year VMSMA membership, you can pay for your current membership and pay your Certification fees online. Just log into your member profile on the VMSMA website. If your membership is current for this calendar year, you can log in and pay just the Certification fees.
Not a VMSMA member? You can join online, either as a paid and voting VMSMA member or by setting up a free trial membership. Trial memberships also run on the calendar year and end on December 31. Create a new membership through the VMSMA website.