According to several news sources, thieves in the Canadian province of Quebec have stolen a significant amount of the 10 million pounds of maple syrup in Canada’s Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve (similar to our Strategic Oil Reserves only sweeter). The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers maintains the Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve which is made up of 10 million pounds worth $30.4 million.
The SMSR (Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve) is used to stabilize prices for maple syrup because the trees are sensitive to weather changes, and the amount produced can vary from year to year. That makes sense.
The majority of Canada’s maple syrup (75%) is exported to the US and is sold in bulk to cereal companies, candy companies and companies that mix it with a little bit with high fructose corn syrup so they can sell it as maple-flavored syrup.
The theft was discovered during a routine inventory. It is thought that it was an inside job. It makes sense that knowledge of the maple syrup business and how the SMSR works is required in order to lift a significant amount of the stuff that goes into the candy you once could buy at Stuckey’s. There is no speculation at this point as to whether or not the theft was perpetrated on one night, or if the shameless inconsiderate thieves spirited away small amounts in Ziploc bags hidden in their underwear.
The executive director of the association, Anne-Marie Granger Godbout, was quick to point out the SMSR is insured. Thank goodness for that. She also said there was no evidence of tampering with the syrup left behind. That’s a relief.
I have a difficult time imagining two common criminals having the sudden inspiration to drive 150 miles north of Quebec, cut through the fence around the warehouse and siphon off a considerable amount of maple syrup.
Asked what the perpetrators of this nefarious deed might do with all this hot maple syrup, the SMSR spokesperson said it would probably be sold on the black market.
That makes the mind reel: a black market for maple syrup? Is Kellogg’s hedging their bets by picking up a little extra maple syrup on the side?
Is there a Japanese collector?
On top of that, what did these shameless burglars who had no regard for the sanctity of Waffle House siphon the syrup into?
How did they accomplish this without spilling any?
Was tunneling involved?
If there had been a police chase would the bad guys have dumped some of the syrup on the highway to slow down the pursuit?
Was there ever a consideration for holding the maple syrup hostage and making ransom demands? (“Pay us the money within the next 24 hours or the syrup gets it.”)
Did a shady candy maker pay them in advance, or were they rolling the dice on having a market?
If there is no buyer, what the hell are they going to do with all that syrup?
There are more questions than answers, and the SMSR isn’t talking.
It is comforting to know that the balance of the reserves are untouched. There will be no contamination scare, and the IHOP faithful will be able to eat their chocolate-blueberry-whole wheat pancakes without fear of keeling over with imported syrup poisoning.
Limited research shows that is may be the first maple syrup heist to make the news. The people at the Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve said that security is tight at the several warehouses where the syrup is stored. That’s comforting to hear.
Like my mother once said: “A sure sign of the Apocalypse is when people start stealing maple syrup.” Or something like that.