This year a lot of our maple syrup bulged out the bottles and almost blew the tops off when loosened. There were particles found in the syrup. What is going on??
Even though the risk with canning/bottling maple syrup is supposed to be virtually nonexistent, it sounds like yours was somehow contaminated. I definitely would not use them as "bulging" cans or bottles are a prominent sign of botulism spores.
See the CDC's Home Canning and Botulism:
Home-canned food might be contaminated if:
- The container is leaking, bulging, or swollen
- The container looks damaged, cracked, or abnormal
- The container spurts liquid or foam when opened
- The food is discolored, moldy, or smells bad
That said, it's not necessarily botulism, that's just the worst-case scenario - but it definitely sounds like some sort of bacterial contamination which is usually due to either improper canning or improper storage. What you're seeing is the result of a pressure build-up, and the pressure has to be created by something, and that "something" is usually bacteria eating the food inside and producing gas.