Two information sheets on unpasturized apple cider have been prepared for distribution to the agriculture and rural community on unpasturized apple cider. The OMAFRA Infosheet is targeted to agricultural clients who may be making apple cider for their own use or selling it commercially. The second sheet has be developed by Alexis Grolla of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and is targeted to consumers.
Farmers have provided safe high quality juice and cider to consumer for many years. A code of practice has been developed for the production and distribution of unpasturized apple and other fruit juice cider to reduce the possibility of contamination. As well the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has stepped up its inspection and sampling program for unpasturized juice cider following the outbreaks of E coli foodborne illness outbreak in the US linked to unpasturized juice cider.
The following guidelines are recommended to producers who make or sell unpasturized cider to prevent the likelihood of E coli or other bacteria contamination such as salmonella or parasites such as cryptosporidium:
-- Keep domestic animals out of the orchard or away from apple trees all year
-- Do not use apples picked from the ground for unpasturized cider. Pick only quality fruit off the tree.
-- Wash equipment and containers thoroughly with detergent and hot water then rinse with hot water. Equipment should also be sanitized with an approved sanitizer. Make sure any water used for washing is of drinking quality and has recently been tested.
-- Make sure equipment and containers such as packing baskets or bins are clean and free from any contamination especially manure. Do not use old feed bags. Use only clean food grade containers properly labelled for storing the cider.
-- Be sure the persons or company doing the custom pressing uses effective production sanitation practices and follows the code of practice. Ask what means bacteria controls are used. Check to determine if your product could be contaminated by product previously packed.
Copies of the two Information sheets are available from your local OMAFRA office.