Best Practices for the Production of Sweet Apple Cider - Labelling and Storage

Pasteurization or ultra-violet (UV) treatment significantly increases the safety of apple cider. However, even pasteurized or UV treated cider can become contaminated if not handled correctly following treatment. Proper storage ensures the safety and quality of your sweet apple cider is maximized.

On-Farm Bottling

  • Ensure new, unfilled containers are stored upside down to prevent contamination
  • Use only new, non-porous, non-corrosive, food-grade retail containers
  • Do not refill used bottles
  • Clean, sanitize and rinse bulk containers prior to reusing
  • Refrigerate all apple cider immediately after filling

Off-Farm Bottling

Off-farm bottling can impose additional food safety risks to your cider product. On the farm, you have much greater control over the cleanliness and sanitation of your bottling operation. At a farmers' market or flea market, whether inside or outside, you have less control over the cleanliness of your immediate environment.

  • Keep bulk cider containers refrigerated at all times
  • Do not refill used bottles at off-farm facilities
  • Train retail staff to use proper hygiene
  • Provide proper hand washing facilities for retail staff use
  • Keep filling and vending area free of debris as well as damaged or decaying fruit in order to avoid attracting pests
  • Protect fill area from exposure to dust or other contaminants

Storage

  • Refrigerate cider immediately after pressing
  • Store cider in refrigerated tanks before bottling or put it into containers directly after pressing

It is important that cider be cooled as quickly as possible to a temperature between 0 and 2ºC (32 to 36 F). Fresh apple cider will last about two weeks if stored at a temperature between 4 and 6ºC (40 to 42 F) or lower. Adding sodium benzoate or other preservatives will extend the shelf life another one to two weeks. Freezing the product will also increase the shelf life.

Cider at Retail

  • Keep consumer containers of cider refrigerated at all times
  • Keep your retail facility free of debris and damaged or decaying fruit
  • Advise customers of "best before date" and to keep their cider product refrigerated
  • Train your retail staff to use proper hygiene
  • Provide proper hand-washing facilities for retail staff use

Transportation of Bulk Cider

  • Clean and sanitize vehicles before transporting bulk cider
  • Keep cider refrigerated

Record Keeping and Recalls

  • Keep all records up-to-date and readily retrievable
  • Establish a coding and trace-back system that includes a lot code on each unit or container of product. In the event that a contaminant is identified in your product, this information enables you to quickly prevent customers from consuming potentially contaminated product and can minimize the volume of product that may need to be recalled.

Labelling

Proper labelling provides consumers with the information they need concerning ingredients and storage and in the event of a product recall, helps you manage the recall efficiently.

Labels must include:

  • Common product name
  • Net quantity
  • Producer name and address
  • List of ingredients (including preservatives, if applicable)
  • Best before date

Refer to the Food and Drugs Act and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act for further labelling information or contact your local Canadian Food Inspection Agency office for assistance.

Labels should include:

  • Storage requirements (for ex. "keep refrigerated")
  • A lot code number
  • The word "unpasteurized" if the product is unpasteurized


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-888-466-2372 ext 6-4230
Local: (519) 826-4230
E-mail: foodinspection@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 19 October 2006
Last Reviewed: 19 February 2014