The Final Word on The Great Maple Syrup Heist

Is a rather dry treatment of the event from The International Monetary Fund. The article explains how the creation of the maple syrup cartel made the theft of the syrup a profitable undertaking. A few quotes:

…Moreover, quotas make it hard for new producers to enter the industry because new entrants typically must purchase a right to produce from the farmers that already own the quotas.­

Of course, thieves in Canada found a new way to get into the maple syrup business. Instead of buying a quota from farmers, the thieves simply made off with the syrup those farmers produced—much as rustlers in the United States stole cattle in the Old West.­

The market will work. If the returns to the cartel become too high, someone will find a way to enter the market. There is no preventing entry, except by force.

There is this understated bit:

The warehouse, about 60 miles southwest of provincial capital Quebec City, was lightly guarded—in retrospect, perhaps, too lightly guarded. The thieves set up shop nearby, and over the course of a year, according to police, made off with roughly 10,000 barrels of maple syrup—about 323,000 gallons, or about 10 percent of the reserve (Canadian Business, 2013). Because one gallon of Quebec maple syrup looks like any other gallon of the product, consumers had no way of distinguishing the federation-approved product from stolen syrup. And some buyers may not have cared.­

Emphasis mine.

Really now, does anybody care where their maple syrup came from as long as it’s good? We’re talking about syrup here, not unicorn tears. We all know where it comes from and there is little likelihood that Chinese child slave labor tapped those trees. Although I’m certain there was a teenager or two that was pissed at his father for having to get out in the cold spring to work the sap collection on various farms.

Police arrested three suspects in December 2012 and 15 more soon thereafter (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 2012). Those arrested faced charges of theft, conspiracy, fraud, and trafficking in stolen goods. Police have recovered two-thirds of the stolen syrup.­

So the Mounties got their man (men? women?) and the syrup is back in the hands of the cartel. Pancake eaters everywhere can rejoice. And if you haven’t tried it yet, I recommend this pork loin recipe that calls for maple syrup and mustard glaze.

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