Quebec police are on the lookout for thieves after a considerable amount of maple syrup disappeared from a warehouse stocking over $30 million worth of the sweet treat.
The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers says they discovered the missing syrup during a routine inventory where empty barrels were found at the site at St-Louis-de-Blandford, Quebec.
Anchor Marco Werman speaks with the Federation’s Executive Director, Anne Marie Granger-Godbout.
“Every year there are some barrels stolen,” says Granger-Godbout, “unfortunately, this a reality in the sector.”
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Marco Werman: And now a story that involves the theft of one of Canada’s most precious resources. No, it’s not gold. Call it “˜amber liquid gold’. Maple syrup that is. As much as $30 million worth of maple syrup has gone missing from a warehouse in Quebec. Here’s Sgt. Claude Denis from the Quebec Provincial Police describing the situation.
Sgt Claude Denis: Crime scene technicians are still there. They are still on the scene to collect evidences. This is a warehouse. It’s a very big warehouse so we have to check all the scene and that’s why police officers are still there right now because the investigation is not finished.
Werman: As Sgt. Denis says the investigation is not finished but the syrup is definitely missing. The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers rents the warehouse of maple syrup. Anne-Marie Granger Godbout is their executive director. She says that it’s unclear when the syrup was stolen.
Anne-Marie Granger Godbout: We discovered this when we doing just a routine inventory check for the end of our fiscal year and we realized some maple syrup was missing. There’s something important here to specify. There is still maple syrup in the warehouse. It used to have, or is supposed to have, supposed to be more than 10 million pounds which is more than $30 million of value but we don’t know what’s left and what’s gone.
Werman: Have you ever experienced anything or seen anything like this before with maple syrup?
Godbout: No. But the maple syrup producers themselves, they know. There’s a lot of…You know, in the sugar shack every year there are some barrels that are stolen. Unfortunately this is a reality in the sector but it’s important for the producers to know, or to keep in mind, that this maple syrup was fully insured.
Werman: Does this heist represent a substantial percentage of an annual production in Quebec of maple syrup?
Godbout: Well, the whole content of this warehouse, 10 million pound is fairly a small amount comparing to the whole crop. In 2012, the whole crop in Quebec is estimated to be around 96 million pound. It’s significant but there is still maple syrup in the other warehouses.
Werman: So this doesn’t foretell any possible shortage of maple syrup but it is a valuable commodity, isn’t it?
Godbout: It is a high value product of course and unfortunately like with any other high value product there is imitations and there is like black market. Unfortunately we have to deal into, well fight with this.
Werman: I’ve got to say this starts to feel like a bad joke about Canada and I’m waiting for the punch line like there’s going to be a huge stack of pancakes discovered somewhere. But I imagine Canadians are, especially Quebecers, are taking this all pretty seriously.
Godbout: Yes, of course. Well, there is approximately, let’s say 7,500 producers here in Quebec producing maple syrup. It’s a very important product in the economy here and the agriculture here. Let’s say approximately one farmer out of four is in the maple syrup industry in one way. So it’s significant for the agriculture here in Quebec.
Werman: What kind of security did you have at the warehouse? Is security something you think about around your syrup?
Godbout: This warehouse was a temporary location for our stocks. We just bought a new warehouse in March and we were about to move this maple syrup to our new warehouse so we were not owners of this warehouse. Of course, it was secured. It was locked. There was a guard making visits regularly. So there were safety measures.
Werman: Well, good luck finding this enormous quantity of maple syrup. Anne-Marie Granger Godbout, the Executive Director for the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers. Thank you for speaking with us.
Godbout: Thank you.
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