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Maine law to set grading system for maple syrup

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- Maine is one of the nation's top maple syrup-producing states, and Gov. Paul LePage has signed a bill to change the way the sweet product is graded.

LePage on Thursday put his name on a bill that replaces Maine's existing maple syrup grading system with one proposed by the International Maple Syrup Institute. That change will create a uniform grade of maple syrup worldwide. The law takes effect when the new grading system is okayed by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Canadian government.

Republican Rep. Russell Black of Wilton sponsored the bill for the Maine Maple Syrup Producers.

Maine last year produced 360,000 gallons of syrup, tying it with New York as the No. 2 syrup-producing state. Vermont is the top U.S. syrup producer.