Bandits in Quebec have made off with millions of dollars worth of maple syrup -- one of the province's most prized and lucrative exports.

A statement from the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers said a warehouse holding more than 10 million pounds of maple syrup, worth more than $30 million, was robbed.

The federation wouldn't say exactly how much syrup was taken, but said the stolen product is worth millions of dollars.

The syrup had been stored in barrels and held temporarily in a warehouse in St-Louis-de-Blandford, when it went missing.

According to the statement the original barrels were empty when the theft was discovered, suggesting the thieves had transferred the syrup to different containers for transportation.

"The Federation always acts with caution to protect producers' harvests. The St-Louis-de-Blandford warehouse had been secured by a fence and locks, and visited regularly," said Serge Beaulieu, president of the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, in the statement.

"The sales agency's maple syrup inventory is spread across several storage locations which were not subject to theft."

The syrup was being held in the temporary location for several weeks while officials waited for renovations to be completed at a new location in Laurierville.

In the statement, the federation said the practice of storing large quantities of maple syrup from many different producers, in one location, is a strategy employed to reduce risk.

"The Federation wishes to underscore that all maple syrup inventories in its charge are fully insured. The marketing of the stolen maple syrup will affect the entire maple industry. It is crucial to identify those responsible for this crime."

In addition to the loss of the product, the theft could potentially harm the market for remaining producers who could see the value of their own syrup reduced, if the stolen product floods the market at a lower price.

Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers represents about 10,000 maple syrup producers in Quebec, handles bulk sales and runs the "global strategic maple syrup reserve."