McDonald’s, Vermont settle syrup dispute

By Reuters
Posted Jan. 20 at 4:07 p.m.

McDonald’s Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets are served the world over, but only in Vermont can diners at the fast-food giant now get pure maple syrup with their oatmeal.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin announced Thursday that McDonald’s USA has agreed to offer pure Vermont maple syrup or sugar with its Fruit and Maple Oatmeal menu item, beginning in February.

Vermont is the nation’s largest producer of maple syrup, and it upholds strict maple laws.

The state previously said McDonald’s use of maple in its advertising for its oatmeal did not meet regulations because it did not actually contain maple.

For now, the pure Vermont maple syrup will be offered only in-state, but Shumlin said he would encourage McDonald’s to use the state’s prize crop elsewhere.

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  1. Mary O'Grady Jan. 21 at 11:01 a.m.

    Good luck, Governor Shumlin. While you’re at it, maybe you can get McDonald’s to use real beef, real chicken, real cheese, real eggs, real bread, real ice cream…

  2. katz Jan. 21 at 11:53 a.m.

    Good for Vermont!! I wish this could be so in all restaurants across the land. Vermont, Wisconsin, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s real maple syrup not that nasty corn syrup.

  3. foodie Jan. 21 at 12:02 pm

    Well put, O’Grady!

  4. mike Jan. 21 at 12:09 pm

    Pure maple syrup tastes nauseatingly sweet. Ramble on all you like about it…it tastes horrible.

  5. danseagull Jan. 21 at 12:49 pm


  6. LAB Jan. 21 at 1:07 pm

    Sparingly used, Real Maple Syrup is also better for diabetics because it is a simple monosaccharide. I will NEVER use corn syrup based “pancake” or “maple” syrups. They are pure cheap rotgut. McDonald’s, are you listening? Use REAL ingredients instead of mystery ingredients. The oatmeal with fruit looks great but I knew that your “maple” syrup was anything but the real deal. That’s why it’s not even a consideration at $1.99 per serving.

  7. LocaLinda Jan. 21 at 1:09 pm

    This is encouraging for the local Vermont economy. I would love to know how the Gov was able to twist Big Mac’s arm into getting this deal done.

  8. uh oh Jan. 21 at 1:26 pm

    What about McDonald’s pancakes served in Vermont? Do they use real maple syrup with the pancakes?

    McDonald’s does have the best breakfast and coffee.

    The rest of their menu is stale buns, thin, teeny mystery meat patties and stiff cold fries.

  9. Innocent_III Jan. 21 at 2:51 pm

    Many prefer fake maple syrup to the real thing– because, the fake often has a far stronger “maple” flavor.

  10. Jeeper Jan. 21 at 2:55 pm

    @uh oh…you must be HIGH to think McDonald’s servers the best breakfast and coffee…jeez!

  11. The Real Truth Jan. 21 at 3:38 pm

    Katz — Funny you mention Wisconsin because the other example of a similar law I was thinking of was one that was repealed in Wisconsin years ago that actually banned yellow margarine, and some towns outright banned margarine, to protect the state’s butter industry.

  12. Tim Jan. 21 at 4:00 pm

    McDonald’s will finally serve something natural.

  13. Matthew C. Shelley Jan. 21 at 5:30 pm

    My Mom used to complain about the Wisconsin butter law all of the time when I was growing up. Personally I would rather eat styrofoam than margarine.

  14. ChicagoGuy Jan. 21 at 5:34 pm


    Pretty soon the governemnt will want to dictate what they can serve and when–How about government get out of business.

    How about the MARKETPLACE dictate what McD’s does instead of government? If everyone in Vermont lobbied McD’s or refused to buy their oatmeal would without real Maple Syrup, then McD’s would change.

    Why do you all think that it is okay for the government dicatate what McD’s can sell? It is VERY shortsighted to agree with it and think it is a good idea because you LIKE maple syrup or because you think that it is better. It is fine if you make that choice yourself and VOTE with your dollars but for the government to dicate is DANGEROUS.

    What happens when the government DICTATES no more french fries or that everyone MUST eat spam or something that you don;t like??? Then it is too late.

    How about government stay out of our decisions and we decide what we want to eat, when we want to eat it and how. Is that too radical that we take PERSONAL responsibility for your decisions and believe that we are smart enough to do what we want?

    Personally, I am in favor of natural, pure, organic and even though I am in favor of it, I don’t want the government involved in the decision of making it for me or anyone else!

  15. NotChicagoGuy Jan. 22 at 3:24 a.m.

    Chicago Guy, calm down & take a deep breath.

    Nobody in government is telling McD’s what they can or cannot sell. What they are doing is telling them that if you are going to describe your product with the term “maple” it must meet certain criteria which they obviously did not. I don’t know the regulation, but I would imagine that they would be able to sell the product as is if they called it “artificial maple flavored” instead. McD’s probably figured they’re better off losing money in VT rather than admitting nationwide what is really in their product.

    Would you be happy if you bought a “beef” hamburger and found out that it was really guinea pig flavored with beef stock? This is about disclosure, not regulating what you can or cannot sell.

  16. dave Jan. 22 at 10:02 pm

    Very well put NotChicagoGuy – as far as Im concerned they (& anyone else really) can sell whatever they want, as long as they’re honest about what it is. It’s difficult for the market to dictate what it does & does not want when it doesn’t even know what it’s being served :P

  17. Robert Montcalm Jan. 23 at 1:23 pm

    It might very well be that McDonalds didn’t forsee an issue with passing artificial maple flavoring as real maple syrup. Many people don’t really know the difference outside of the northeast.

    I chalk that up to a pr and branding failure on the part of the maple syrup industry. They have such a huge opportunity to brand maple syrup – imagine if they took a page of the wine producers playbook. Vintages, locations, ages, etc.

    It is too bad the state must get involved in things like this.
    Robert from

  18. tiah Jan. 25 at 9:10 pm

    I’m curious why they are only making an example of McDonald’s. I was in Hannafords in VT today and saw three different instant “maple” oatmeals without 100% pure maple syrup. I like the idea of protecting the maple industry and generally don’t eat most foods at McDonald’s, but this doesn’t seem fair.