Food Safety Practices in the Production of Unpasteurized Apple Cider Workbook - Text-Only Page

© Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2002

Table of Contents


  1. Records of Fertilizer and Pesticide Applications
  2. Refrigerated Storage Temperature Log
  3. Fruit Sanitizer Log
  4. Pre-Operations Cleaning and Set-up Checklist
  5. Daily Operations / Routine Cleaning
  6. Post-Operations Cleaning/Sanitizing – Grinder Apparatus
  7. Post-Operations Cleaning/Sanitizing – Rack and Press
  8. Post-Operations Cleaning/Sanitizing – Wet Brusher
  9. Post-Operations Cleaning/Sanitizing – Filler
  10. Pest and Rodent Control Log
  11. Water Testing Record
  12. Grower’s Agreement
  13. Raw Produce Receiving Report
  14. Preservative Log
  15. Microbial Testing Log
  16. Cider Production and Distribution Log – Custom Presser
  17. Cider Production and Distribution Log – Self-Produced Bottled
  18. Cider Production and Distribution Log – Self-Produced Bulk


Food safety is everyone’s business

The orchard-fresh flavour of Ontario’s unpasteurized apple cider makes it a naturally appealing beverage, especially in autumn and through the holiday season. In 2000, approximately 2 million litres valued at $2.5 to $3 million were sold in the province.

More than ever, responsible producers want to ensure what they are selling is as safe and wholesome as possible. Food safety concerns have left few sectors of the agricultural industry untouched, and unpasteurized apple cider is no exception. With the blanket media coverage that foodborne illnesses receive, any problem – real or perceived – can hit an entire sector hard.

Everyone in the apple cider production chain, from picker to consumer, has a role to play in ensuring a safe product that continues to enjoy popularity. For you as a producer, this means implementing practices that give proper hygiene and sanitation procedures priority throughout the production process – without sacrificing quality, flavour, or the bottom line.

By making the practices and monitoring tools described in these

As a part of everyday operating procedures, you will greatly reduce the possibility of product contamination from ever happening. It should be noted, however, that the recommendations cannot guarantee safe and high quality cider – that’s just not possible with a raw product. But they are the best methods known to prevent and combat contamination, promote quality, inspire consumer confidence, and sustain the long-term commercial viability of the sector.

Types and sources of contamination

Until the early 1980s, fresh, unpasteurized apple cider was considered to be a safe, non-hazardous product due to its relatively low pH. Recent studies have shown that microorganisms such as Salmonella sp. and Escherichia coli (E. coli O157:H7) can tolerate and survive in these acidic conditions. The past few years have seen several reported outbreaks of illness attributed to the consumption of unpasteurized apple cider.

Bacteria, viruses, or parasites can cause produce-associated illnesses. Bacteria such as Salmonella, E. Coli 0157:H7, Shigella, and Bacillus cereus are of significant concern. Parasites such as Cryptosporidium and Cyclospora, and viruses such as hepatitis A and Norwalk, have also been the causative agents in several produce-associated illnesses – including those that involved unpasteurized apple cider. (See Appendix 1 for a chart listing some pathogens, their related illness and associated foods. For some specifics on foodborne outbreaks, please refer to Table 1 in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Code of Practice.)

Microoganisms that can contaminate apple cider may come from:

  • fresh fruit, especially if it is picked from the ground, or is decayed or damaged
  • your facility, equipment, and water supply, and
  • people involved in making cider.

By reviewing, evaluating, and strengthening current Good Agricultural Practices in the field and Good Manufacturing Practices in the processing facility, you can reduce microbial risks.

Reducing risk

The key to reducing risk is to prevent contamination before it happens. Research shows that it’s very difficult to completely sanitize any produce once contamination has occurred. And to prevent contamination, you need to know what to look for.

Microbial contamination can occur during any part of the production process – from field operation to transport to market. Many sources of harmful microorganisms may be hidden or overlooked in your operation. Be alert for potential contamination from:

  • irrigation and processing water
  • manure and composted fertilizers animal feces
  • dropped or decayed fruit
  • unclean containers and equipment
  • inadequate worker hygiene, and
  • nearby livestock operations.

While disease-causing pathogens can live on the surface of the apples, they may also enter the fruit and survive in the core.

Follow safe cider producing guidelines that maintain clean and sanitary conditions, ensure worker hygiene, and reduce opportunities for contamination of apples by contact with the ground, pests or animals. Do not use dropped fruit for unpasteurized apple cider.

Regular maintenance of the processing equipment is important. Keep washing and processing areas clean: wash and sanitize floors, walls, lines, belts and all equipment each day. Pay special attention to surfaces that come in direct contact with fruit. Prevent animals, birds or pests from entering the processing area. Use screening as necessary.

A Cider Producer’s Workbook can help you systematize your operation to ensure you’re doing everything possible to prevent contamination.

How to use this Workbook

Each chapter contains a list of Key Points. Key Points alert you to areas in your production process that may need immediate and concerted attention. Following the Key Points are descriptions of good agricultural or manufacturing processes to address the concerns.

Examples of completed forms appear in many chapters. They are there as aids to help you track and monitor your operation. The envelope that accompanies this Workbook contains blank copies of these forms that may be duplicated as is, or customized according to your individual needs.

If you are familiar with The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Code of Practice you might also notice that the chapters in this book match the sequence of topics in the Code of Practice. The numbers in brackets ( ) in the chapter titles refer to those sections in the Code of Practice for your reference.

Primary Production (4)

Orchard Management (4.1)

Fecal matter is the major source of apple contamination in the orchard. It is a source of pathogens that can lead to illness in humans. Therefore it’s very important to minimize the amount of fecal matter in your orchard at all times. Fecal contamination of the orchard can come from dogs and cats, livestock, deer, birds, rodents and even insects. Keeping animals out of an orchard significantly reduces the risk of contamination.

Discouraging birds from roosting can prevent birds from soiling the fruit and orchard floor.

If you have any questions about this topic, please contact:

Kristy Grigg-McGuffin, Horticulture IPM Specialist

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), Simcoe


ii. If apples are being used for unpasteurized cider production, it is recommended that manure not be used as a fertilizer in the orchard, even when composted. Chemical fertilizers, applied properly, might be the best alternative to prevent contamination.

If you have any questions about this topic, please contact:

Amanda Green, Tree Fruit Specialist

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), Simcoe


Water can also be a source of contamination in the orchard. Use only a potable (safe and clean) water source for irrigation and to dilute agricultural chemicals. See "Water Supply" for more information.

To avoid chemical contamination of the apples, apply pesticides properly. Anyone applying pesticides in your operation should be fully trained, and only using approved pesticides.

For a list of approved pesticides for apples, obtain a copy of: Fruit Production Recommendations 2002–2003 by calling OMAFRA (1-888-466-2372).

To purchase pesticides, you must be certified by taking The Grower Pesticide Safety Course. For more information on this course:

call 1-800-652-8573, or visit:

Keep a record of the chemicals used, concentrations, methods of applications and dates. See Form 1.

Form 1: Records of Fertilizer and Pesticide Applications

Block/Variety Date Product Used Rate/Unit Weather Conditions

Harvesting Practices (4.2)

During harvest, apples can become contaminated by one or more of many sources. You must identify these sources in your operation, and do your best to prevent them from contaminating your crop.

Apples that have touched the orchard floor ("grounders") should not be used in unpasteurized cider production. Discard them! This includes apples have fallen to the ground or apples that are attached to lower branches are in contact with ground. The orchard floor can be a source of numerous pathogens – both from the soil as well as fecal matter. Even if livestock are not permitted in the orchard, it is difficult to guarantee that all wildlife has been excluded. Pathogens are much too small to be seen, so even if apples look clean, they can still be carrying pathogens.

Damaged and rotten apples should not be used in cider production. Patulin, a harmful toxin produced by fungi found in rotting apples, can contaminate the cider if damaged apples are used. Also, bruising and sites of damage provide an environment suitable to the growth of microorganisms as well as a point of entry into the flesh where wash-water cannot reach them.

The bins and containers used to harvest and transport apples can also be a source of contamination. All harvesting containers should be washed and sanitized before use. See "Transportation Practices", for more information. Do not allow workers to stand in the bins during harvest: their boots might contaminate the bin. When bins are full, don’t stack them on top of each other, because the bottom of one container might contaminate the apples in another. Bins should also be covered and constructed to prevent access by rodents.

Since apples are hand-picked, workers have a lot of contact with the apples during harvest. That is why it is extremely important to educate workers on proper picking and handling of apples, as well as on personal hygiene. See "Employee Behaviour and Hygiene", for more details. Train your workers to pick apples carefully to reduce damage, placing them gently into the bag. Also, ladder rungs can pick up contamination from boots. Therefore, only the side rails should be used for hand holds. The person in charge should be aware of signs of infectious disease and exclude any ill workers from the operation.

Employees should be provided with an accessible washroom with appropriate supplies, see the "Personnel" section.


Intermediate Operations (5)

Transportation Practices (5.1)

Harvest bins and any other containers used to transport or store apples should be made of proper food-grade material. See Appendix 2 for information on appropriate materials. Food-grade material is easier to clean, will not retain cleaning agents, and will not leach chemicals onto the apples. Wood is more difficult to clean and may retain cleaning agents.

Bins should be cleaned and sanitized after each load is delivered and before reuse. See Appendix 2 for information on approved cleaners and sanitizers. Muddy bins should be cleaned before entering the storage or processing area.

Once bins are loaded with apples, they should be moved to a covered storage area as soon as possible. Do not let the harvested apples sit in the orchard where they are exposed to pests, environmental contaminants and fluctuating temperatures.

When bins are not in use, they should be stored in a clean area where pests such as rodents, birds and insects do not have access to them. If bins are stored outside, they can become a nesting place for rodents and insects, and the risk of fecal contamination of apples is increased. Bins should always be cleaned when removed from storage and before being used.

Transportation vehicles must be cleaned and sanitized before being used to transport apples. For information on proper cleaners and sanitizers, see Appendix 2. Vehicles should also be cleaned and sanitized between shipments to prevent spreading contamination to subsequent loads. Do not use vehicles that have been used to haul manure, compost or animals. Do not let apples sit in unrefrigerated trucks for long periods of time.

Fruit Storage Practices (5.2)

Contamination in the storage area can be passed to apples by contact with dirty walls and floors. It can also be passed from the ceiling through condensation dripping onto apples. To prepare apple storage facilities for harvest, all clutter and debris should be removed and the entire storage area – floors, walls and ceiling – should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. (For information on approved cleaners and sanitizers, see Appendix 2.) In addition to removing contaminants, this will eliminate any material that might attract pests. Apples should also be covered so that any subsequent condensation does not come into contact with the fruit.

Keep storage facilities closed and sealed to prevent access by pests, which can contaminate the apples.

Apples should be pressed as soon after harvest as possible to prevent the growth of any pathogens. If this is not possible, apples should be rapidly cooled to temperatures between 1°C and 4°C.

It is important for both the safety and quality of apples to keep them at the recommended temperatures. To ensure proper cold storage temperatures are maintained, keep a log in which the temperature of your storage area(s) is recorded at a set time interval. This way, if a malfunction occurs with the cooling equipment, it will be noticed and repaired before the apples’ condition is compromised. See Form 2.

Form 2: Refrigerated Storage Temperature Log

Date Time Room A Room B Room C Bulk Cooler Retail Cooler Checked By

Fruit Sorting (5.3)

Surfaces that come into contact with apples should be of an approved food-grade material. If existing surfaces are not food-grade material, it is possible to apply food-grade coatings to resolve this problem, rather than replacing equipment. (For information on approved food-contact material, please see Appendix 2.) These materials are easily cleaned and will not leach chemicals onto the apples.

Apples should be inspected in a clean, dry and well-lit area by workers who are properly trained in inspection and personal hygiene. (Please see "Employee Behaviour and Hygiene".) Inspection should take place before apples are placed into the flume or wash-water, because once a dirty or rotten apple is placed in the water, it could potentially contaminate the whole batch.

All rotting, damaged, wormy and dirty apples should be removed from the processing line.

Once damaged and rotten apples are removed from further processing, dispose of them properly and promptly. That way, good apples will not be contaminated by them, and pests will not be attracted to the processing area. At a minimum, culled apples should be placed in a container and removed from the pressing area at the end of each pressing day.

Fruit and Equipment Cleaning (5.4)

Potable water is water that is clean and safe to drink. Potable water should be used in all apple production and cider pressing procedures. For more information, see water supply.

Another way to reduce the risk of pathogens contaminating apple from the processing water is to add a sanitizer to the apple wash-water. Sanitizing agents are able to kill many harmful pathogens and is effective in of pathogens in the wash water. However, this is not a guarantee that your water will be pathogen free.

Chlorine-based sanitizers are the most commonly used sanitizing agents in food processing operations. They must be approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency – see Appendix 2. Follow the manufacturer's directions for use, as well as any instructions on protective clothing, ventilation, rinsing, storage, etc. The solution should be 50–100 parts per million (ppm) of chlorine for washing apples and 100–200 ppm for washing equipment. To calculate and prepare a sanitizing solution using a chlorine based sanitizer for your apple wash water and your equipment wash, follow the instructions listed later on.

The level of chlorine in your water can be monitored using a test kit. Check your telephone book’s Yellow Pages under "Janitor’s Supplies" or with your local farm supplies or feed dealers. Or inquire at a swimming pool supply store. Before you purchase a test kit, ensure that it can accurately test for chlorine levels up to 200 ppm (parts per million). Test kits can consist of test strips or tablets and containers and they may test for "total chlorine" or "free chlorine". It isn’t important to understand these terms but you should make sure that you know which of these your kit tests for and accordingly maintain a level of:

  • 50-100 ppm of total chlorine or
  • 25-50 ppm of free chlorine.

Keep a log of the type of sanitizers used, as well as the amount added and resulting concentration. See Form 3.

Apple wash-water can quickly become laden with soil and plant debris. This debris can inactivate the chlorine in the sanitizer. To maintain the effectiveness of the chlorine wash, the water in the tank should be changed when it gets dirty.

As more chlorine based sanitizer is added to the water, the pH will rise (i.e., become less acidic). Chlorine is more effective at lower pHs – try to keep the pH between 6 and 7. So if a pH is too high, stop adding sanitizer until the pH drops. The water’s pH can be monitored with pH test strips.

Follow the sanitizing of your apples with a potable water rinse to remove any residual sanitizer from the apples – unless the manufacturer’s instructions indicate otherwise.

If apples are added to water that is colder than they are, a vacuum-like action is created that can cause pathogens on the surface of the apples to be drawn into the apple core. This should be avoided by ensuring that any water in contact with apples is at least 5°C (41°F) warmer than the apples.

Preparation Of Apple- and Equipment Sanitizing Solutions from Chlorine Based Sanitizers:

What concentration of chlorine do you want in your water? (A)

50 ppm – Apple Wash

100 ppm – Apple Wash or Equipment Wash

200 ppm – Equipment Wash

How many litres of water is the sanitizer being added to (i.e. how many liters of dilute sanitizer do you want to prepare)? (B)

(e.g., 500 litres)

On the label of the sanitizer bottle, what percentage of hypochlorite is listed (e.g., 6%, 12% etc.)? (C)

To calculate the amount of sanitizer to add to your water, use your answers to the above questions to fill in the following formula:

Litres of bleach to add = ( A ) x ( B ) / {(C) x 10 000}= litres

= (desired ppm of chlorine) x (total water volume) / (% hypochlorite in sanitizer) x (10 000)


You want 50 ppm chlorine. You are adding it to 500 litres of water. Your sanitizer is 6% sodium hypochlorite.

= (50) x (500) /(6) x (10 000)= 25000/60000

= 0.42 litres So you add 0.42 litres of sanitizer to your water.

Form 3: Fruit Sanitizer Log

Type of sanitizer used:


Date Time Amount Added Concentration





Checked by

Processing Facilities and Operations (6)

In any processing facility, there are many potential sources of contamination that can lead to unsafe food products. In this section the areas dealt with are improper employee behaviour, poor hygiene and improper sanitation of equipment. You’ll need to address each of these areas.

Employee Behaviour and Hygiene

Employee behaviour can have a huge impact on food safety. All employees should be aware of behaviours and actions that can negatively influence the quality or safety of the product. Post a list of proper hygienic practices around the facility to remind employees of good practices.

Employers, as well as employees, should also be aware of the signs of infectious disease. Anyone displaying these symptoms should not have contact with food, equipment or packaging material – see Personnel.

Employee hygiene is also very important. Adequate bathroom facilities (see Personnel) must be accessible to workers at all times. Proper hand-washing practices are imperative to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses. All workers coming into contact with fruit, equipment or packaging materials should be aware of proper hand-washing procedures. Not only should employees know how to wash their hands, they should know when to wash them.

Hands should be washed:

  • when reporting to work
  • after a break
  • after smoking, eating or drinking
  • after using the bathroom
  • after coughing or sneezing
  • after blowing or touching the nose
  • after touching the mouth, eyes, ears or hair
  • after touching anything other than the product or product contact areas.

Premises and Equipment (6.1 and 6.2)

Cider pressing should take place in an enclosed area. This will exclude birds and animals from contact with the apples and equipment. Windows should be screened to prevent insects from entering.

The cider pressing facility and the equipment used should be maintained in good working order and should be properly cleaned and sanitized. For information on approved equipment cleaners and sanitizers, see Appendix 2.

The following section outlines procedures for properly cleaning and sanitizing cider pressing equipment. It covers a) Pre-Operations Cleaning and Setup, b) Daily Operations/Routine Cleaning and c) Post Operations Cleanup. The accompanying forms allow workers to document their actions. Please note: there is a huge variety of cider pressing equipment and facilities in Ontario. This list is meant to be used as a guide for you to create a customized cleaning and sanitation program that suits your operation.

a) Pre-Operation Cleaning and Setup

The following procedures should be undertaken prior to start-up at the beginning of each production day. Keep a record of your activities using Form 4.

  1. Inspect the mill and equipment for cleanliness and presence of foreign objects, and to ensure that all surfaces are visibly clean
  2. Sanitize and rinse all food contact surfaces, using an approved equipment sanitizer and potable water (Appendix 2).
  3. Reassemble and check equipment for proper orientation.
  4. Ensure employees document their pre-operation cleaning and setup activities as per Form 4.
b) Daily Operations and Routine Cleaning

Make the following steps a part of daily operations and routine cleaning procedures in order to maintain an orderly and sanitary process. Keep a record of the activities using Form 5.

  1. Sweep and clean the processing area and tank room as needed to keep them free of apples, leaves and rubbish.
  2. Inspect apples on a clean, dry surface before they enter flume or wash-water. Rotten, damaged and wormy apples should be removed and discarded.
  3. Keep trash receptacles covered and dumped as necessary to avoid attracting rodents or insects. At a minimum, trash should be emptied at the end of each pressing day.
  4. Remove pomace from the processing area as soon as possible to prevent attraction of pests.
  5. Keep cider press cloths on racks between uses and ensure that they do not touch the floor or other contaminated surfaces.
  6. Sanitize jug-filling pump and lines prior to use. For approved sanitizers see Appendix 2.
  7. Store empty cider jugs and caps off the floor and in their original containers until you are ready to use them. Ensure employees responsible for filling jugs practise proper hygiene.
  8. Ensure any water into which apples will be placed is at least 5°C (41°F) warmer than the apples.
  9. Clean and sanitize all emptied tanks used for holding and storage of bulk cider. Use appropriate solutions (Appendix 2).
c) Post-Operations Cleanup

The following procedures should be followed at the end of each pressing day and after each batch of custom pressing. This ensures that potential contamination from one batch of apples is not spread to each subsequent batch of apples pressed that day. Keep a record of activities performed on Forms 6, 7, 8, and 9.

  1. Remove all apples and debris from the processing area and equipment.
  2. Disconnect power to the equipment and, if necessary, protect electrical connections and sensitive parts of the equipment from water.
  3. Disassemble equipment where possible to provide better access and more effective cleaning.
  4. Rinse or wash down all equipment and processing surfaces with warm water to remove remaining solid material. Water temperature should be 50 to 55°C (122°F to 131°F) for optimal cleaning.
  5. Apply a warm detergent solution and scrub as necessary to remove any remaining solid material. See Appendix 2 for information on approved cleaning solutions.
  6. Rinse away detergent and loosened solids and soil with warm water 55-60°C (131°F to 140 °F).
  7. Inspect all surfaces and equipment for effectiveness of cleaning and if necessary repeat steps 4 to 6.
  8. Apply an approved chemical sanitizer to all product contact surfaces (Appendix 2).
  9. Follow manufacturer’s directions regarding rinsing of equipment after sanitation. A water rinse may or may not be required.
  10. Allow equipment to dry, and reassemble where necessary.
  11. Press cloths should be washed, dipped in sanitizing solution and rinsed at the end of each day and then dried by hanging on a clean line in a well ventilated screened area free of pests.

Form 4: Pre-Operations Cleaning and Setup Checklist

Today’s date: _______________________________________________

Last day of production: _______________________________________

Employees responsible: _______________________________________

  1. Equipment and press cloths visually clean: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  2. Equipment requires re-cleaning and/or sanitizing: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  3. Re-cleaning and/or sanitizing performed: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  4. Reassemble equipment: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  5. Sanitizer applied ppm: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____

Corrective actions:




Supervisor signature: ________________________________________

Form 5: Daily Operations/Routine Cleaning

Today’s date: _______________________________________________

Employees responsible: _______________________________________

  1. Apples visually inspected: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  2. Processing room / bulk tank room picked up/swept: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  3. Trash receptacles dumped, cleaned, sanitized: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  4. Cider cloths off floors on holding racks: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  5. Packaging materials off the floor: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  6. Pomace removal after each press: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____

Corrective actions:




Supervisor signature: ________________________________________

Form 6: Post-Operations Cleaning/Sanitizing – Grinder Apparatus

Today’s date: _______________________________________________

Employees responsible: _______________________________________

  1. Surrounding area free from debris: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  2. Rinse top, inside, outside of grinder apparatus: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  3. Remove by hand any remaining debris: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  4. Scrub with cleaner and food-grade brushes top, inside, outside of grinder apparatus: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  5. Rinse inside / top / outside: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  6. Visually inspect: a) free from organic matter b) water clear: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  7. Sanitizer solution concentration (ppm): ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  8. Spray sanitizer on equipment, allow to drip off: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____

Corrective actions:




Supervisor signature: ________________________________________

Form 7: Post-Operations Cleaning/Sanitizing – Rack and Press

Today’s date: _______________________________________________

Employees responsible: _______________________________________

  1. Surrounding area free from debris: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  2. Equipment rinsed down: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  3. Equipment scrubbed inside/outside: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  4. Equipment rinsed down: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  5. Visually inspect – if food particles or debris remain, repeat #3 above: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  6. Sanitizer concentration (ppm): ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  7. Flood equipment with sanitizer: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  8. Rinse equipment with water: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  9. Press cloths washed, rinsed, sanitized and dried: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____

Corrective actions:




Supervisor signature: ________________________________________

Form 8: Post-Operations Cleaning/Sanitizing – Wet Brusher

Today’s date: _______________________________________________

Employees responsible: _______________________________________

  1. Surrounding area free from debris: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  2. Rinse top, inside, outside of wet brusher: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  3. Remove by hand any remaining debris: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  4. Scrub with cleaner and food-grade brushes top, inside, outside of wet brusher: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  5. Rinse inside / top / outside: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  6. Visually inspect: a) free from organic matter b) water clear: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  7. Sanitizer solution concentration (ppm): ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  8. Spray sanitizer on equipment, allow to drip off: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____

Corrective actions:




Supervisor signature: ________________________________________

Form 9: Post-Operations Cleaning/Sanitizing – Filler

Today’s date: _______________________________________________

Employees responsible: _______________________________________

  1. Surrounding area free from debris: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  2. Cover motors / electrical panels: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  3. Rinse down equipment: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  4. Dismantle filler: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  5. Scrub inside / outside of filler with cleaner: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  6. Rinse filler: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  7. Visually inspect: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  8. Sanitizer concentration (ppm): ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  9. Sanitizer applied, allowed to drip off food contact surfaces: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  10. Utensil sink sanitizer concentration (ppm): ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____
  11. Parts washed, rinsed, sanitized, air dried: ____ Yes ____ No Initials: ____

Corrective actions:




Supervisor signature: ________________________________________

Pest Control

Pests are potential sources of contamination in processing areas. They can harbour a variety of pathogens, which they can spread to apples and equipment. Common pests of processing facilities include rodents and insects.

The key actions for controlling both groups of pests are excluding entrance and proper sanitation. Particularly for rodents, it is critical to keep the outside of the facility clean and not to have discarded fruit lying around.

The following measures, along with proper facility sanitation (Premises and Equipment), should be established in and around the processing facility in order to minimize pest problems:

  • Around the farm in general, keep grounds clean, well-trimmed and uncluttered to avoid attracting pests.
  • Keep processing and storage areas uncluttered and clean to eliminate nesting areas for pests.
  • Keep processing areas sealed to prevent pest access. Screen windows and doors and minimize space below and above doors.
  • Remove all culled fruit and pomace from the processing area and from grounds as soon as possible to prevent attracting pests.

The practices mentioned above should help to minimize pest problems but it is very difficult to exclude all pests from your operation. Therefore pest control methods should be used to eliminate pests that do enter your premises.

Rodents - Rodenticides can provide effective control. The key is placing enough rodent bait stations around your barn and maintaining the stations or traps. Many baits today are pre-formulated into bait blocks that are attractive to rodents. Otherwise, peanut butter is high on the list of attractants.

Trap placement is critical. Rodents are nocturnal, have poor eyesight and like "whisker contact." It is critical to put bait traps so they abut against walls, support poles, etc. It is strongly advisable to have a maintenance baiting program to prevent problems, rather than waiting for problems to arise.

Insects - Flies (including fruit flies) tend to be common pests of cider operations. Flies tend to originate wherever there is manure. Neighbouring livestock can provide a consistent source of flies. Fruit flies are often found breeding in high moisture situations (e.g., rotting apples).

Adult fly control may involve insecticides. These can alleviate problems but not solve them unless breeding sites are also controlled. Which insecticide to use is based on potential resistance in the population. Sticky fly paper, bait jugs and bait cards all help reduce adult fly numbers.

Note: All insecticides and rodenticides should be approved by the CFIA. See Appendix 2 for information on approved pesticides.

It is important to monitor and maintain bait stations on a regular basis, removing old bait and adding new bait. This process should be recorded to provide an assessment of the effectiveness of the pest control program (see Form 10). In the end, for both pest types, there are no magic bullets. But there is good management, prevention of entry, constant monitoring, and products that are effective when used appropriately.

Form 10: Pest and Rodent Control Log
Date Station Status Action (details) Checked by
# Type

Water Supply (6.3)

In your orchard, water comes into direct contact with fruit during irrigation, foliar application of fertilizer, pesticides and growth regulators, and overhead cooling. Water can carry many different types of harmful organisms that may contaminate apples. Even in small amounts, these microorganisms can cause foodborne illness. Pathogens can survive both on the surface of apples and within the core if absorbed.

Take care to ensure that potable water is used in all operations.

Potable (safe/clean) water must be used during processing. If the water source in use is a municipal supply, it is likely to be potable. However, this is not a guarantee that your water will be safe. Water should still be tested regularly for microbial contamination during the pressing season.

If your water comes from a well, the safety of the water is in your hands. Ensure that the water does not contain pathogens. This means proper maintenance and having the water tested as recommended by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Appendix 3 provides some tips for well maintenance and prevention of contamination. Appendix 4 explains how to properly sample and test your well water. Your local public health unit is another resource for information on water sampling and testing. If well water test results are not acceptable, your public health unit will provide instructions on how to disinfect the well. To contact your local public health unit call 1-800-268-1154 or visit the following website:

Surface water is a major source of irrigation in orchards. Be aware that there may be a significant risk of contamination when surface water comes in direct contact with fruit. If possible, avoid the use of untreated surface water in the orchard and do not use it in the processing operation.

To reduce the risk, limit water contact with fruit by using under-tree irrigation, and use potable or treated water for any foliar applications of materials that will contact fruit. Try to maximize the time between the last overhead irrigation and harvest. Since surface water quality is so variable, the water should be tested 3–4 times during the growing season.

Keep records of all test results and dates of irrigation, foliar applications and harvest. See Form 11 for a Water Testing Record form.

Form 11: Water Testing Record

Date E. coli Total Coliform Laboratory





Personnel (6.4)

The horticulture industry tends to be highly seasonal in Ontario, resulting in a high turnover rate of staff. For this reason, it is very important to have a well-established program for training all new staff in the proper sanitary procedures for producing apple cider as well as good personal hygiene.

All employees responsible for sanitation of the equipment or facility should be properly trained and educated as to the:

  • importance of sanitation
  • sanitation procedures specific to your operation, and
  • proper use of sanitizing chemicals.

Employees must also understand the importance of good personal hygiene in preventing contamination of the food. See Employee Behaviour and Hygiene for more information.

Employers and employees should be aware of the signs of infectious disease, such as diarrhea, vomiting, persistent cough, skin rashes, and infections of the nose, eyes, ears or mouth. A worker with any of these symptoms should not be allowed contact with food, equipment or packaging material.

Sufficient washroom facilities should be available to staff – approximately 1 bathroom for every 10 employees. Washrooms should be stocked with soap, warm water, single-use towels and a sign reminding them to wash their hands before returning to work.

Fruit Inspection (6.5)

i. Upon arrival at the processing facility, apples should be inspected for quality. Apples harvested from your own orchard should pose fewer problems since you have greater control of the personnel and the quality of apples picked. Greater risk occurs in the custom pressing of apples from other growers. It is near to impossible to patrol other growers’ orchards to ensure their fruit is top quality and contamination-free.

As described in the Fruit Sorting section, all dirty, decayed and wormy apples should be removed from the cider production line and properly discarded. The general quality of the apples you are custom pressing should be recorded in Form 13.

ii. Those involved in custom pressing should enter into a written agreement with each grower, specifying stringent adherence to high standards for apple quality and safety. This could include standards for orchard management, such as proper use of fertilizers and pesticides, water quality, and best harvesting practices (as outlined in the CFIA code of practice) – including a worker education program. See Form 12 for a sample Grower’s Agreement. One of these should be filled out for each grower/supplier at the beginning of each pressing season. Also see Form 13 for a Raw Produce Receiving Report form to record each grower’s name, date, batch number, and other vital information on the produce received.

Form 12: Sample Grower Agreement


The purpose of this agreement is to ensure that the apples being provided to/purchased by ________Fraser View Farms___________ (cider presser) meet the requirements of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) Code of Practice for the Production and Distribution of Unpasteurized Apple and Other Fruit Juice/Cider in Canada.


I, ______Brian Smith___________________ (apple grower or other supplier) agree to supply apples to the cider presser named above, which have met all of the following recommended practices as stated in the Code of Practice:

A) Harvest – "No Grounders" – No fruit that touched the ground or floors was included in the apples supplied for "Fresh Unpasteurized" apple juice/cider. The harvesting process was supervised and monitored to insure that only wholesome, clean, tree-picked (no grounders) apples were placed in suitable clean bins and/or field containers.

B) Harvest Training – Field workers harvesting apples were provided with training to ensure that only wholesome, clean, tree-picked (no grounders) apples were harvested.

C) Field Sanitation – Field workers harvesting apples were provided with adequate toilet and hand washing facilities, and instructed in the proper procedures regarding personal hygiene.

D) Livestock Grazing/Livestock Fertilizers – During the past twelve months no livestock grazing occurred in the orchards and no livestock fertilizers, including biosolids (human waste), were used in the orchards.

E) Water used to irrigate and dilute pesticides etc. is of an acceptable microbial quality as per the Code of Practice (This can be verified by testing).

F) Records of fertilizer and pesticide, etc., applications, including water sources are maintained.

I hereby certify that the above is true and correct and that all of the apples supplied to ______Fraser View Farms_________________ (Cider Presser) meet ALL of the requirements as stated above for the___2002-2003__ pressing season.

Grower/Supplier name: _____Brian Smith_________________

Grower /Supplier signature: _____Brian Smith_______ Date:_Sept 1st/02___

Form 13: Raw Produce Receiving Report

Date: _________________________________________________________

Lot# __________________________________________________________


No.of units: ____________________________________________________


Cooler temp when received: ______________________________________

Grower: ______________________________________________________

Product Inspection

Rate on a scale of 1–10 (1 = very poor, 10 = very good)

Category Rating Comments
Decay / Bruised    
Skin punctures / Cracks    
Wormy / Insects    
Visible dirt    

General comments on lot received:




Accepted: ___________ Rejected: ________________

Inspected by: _________________________________

Fruit Processing (6.6)

The condition of a processing area can have a big impact on the quality and safety of cider. A few simple precautions can be taken to reduce the risk of contaminating the product.

The processing area should be enclosed, clean, well-lit, dry, well-ventilated, and screened to keep out pests. If possible, this area should be separate from the area where the fruit is sorted and washed to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

When other growers’ apples are being custom pressed, it is advisable to clean and sanitize pressing equipment and pressing cloths between each batch. This will prevent someone else’s apples from contaminating the equipment and possibly your apples and cider.

Whenever cider is tested for microbial quality, keep records of the test results and also of any ingredients, such as preservatives, you may add to your apple cider. See Forms 14 and 15 for Preservative and Microbial Testing Logs. These logs also record the Lot Code Identification Number referred to under Labelling and Recalls.

Form 14: Preservative Log

Preservative used: _______Recommended concentration _____

Date Time Lot Code # Total Litres of Cider Concentration of Preservative Verified by

Form 15:

Date Time Lot Code # Total Litres of Cider Tested for: Total Coliforms Tested by

Microbial Testing Log:




Packaging (6.7)

If you have reached this point with contamination-free cider, the last thing you want to do is use unsanitary packaging for your product. Packaging can transfer microbial and chemical contamination to the cider.

Cider should be packaged into clean food-grade containers. For information on approved packaging materials, see Appendix 2. If filling containers by hand, be sure not to touch the mouth of the bottle or the cap, as hands can be a source of microbial contamination.

New containers and caps are preferable, but if glass bottles are used, they can be reused if properly sanitized first. Before being used, containers and caps should be stored so as to prevent contamination.

All unpasteurized apple cider should immediately be refrigerated at 0–4°C (32–39°F.) or frozen at less than –18°C (0°F). The cider should be held at that temperature until consumed or transported to market.

Safety concerns regarding filling from bulk containers at farmers’ markets or roadside stands is covered in the chapter on Cider Storing and Retailing.

Labelling (6.8)

All cider being sold to the public must be clearly labelled, either by hand or with printed labels. Cider sold without a label is in violation of the Food and Drugs Act (FDA) as well as the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (CPLA).

All juice/cider labels must meet or exceed the requirements of the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and Regulations.

A label must include the following:

  • Common name (i.e. Sweet Apple Cider)
  • Net quantity
  • Name, address and telephone number of producer
  • List of ingredients (a preservative is considered an ingredient)
  • "Durable Life Date" or "Best Before" date (preferably on the cap)

A label should include the following:

  • Storage requirements ("Keep Refrigerated" or "Keep Frozen")
  • Lot code identification number *
  • The word "Unpasteurized" (if the product is unpasteurized)

* The 'lot code identification number' provides a trace-back mechanism in the event of a product recall.

As a precaution, consider attaching an additional label around the neck of the bottle that reminds customers to keep refrigerated.

Records (7)

Keeping good records throughout production has many benefits. It helps keep better track of what goes on in a facility. Documentation highlights the producer’s commitment to reducing food safety risks associated with a product. And in the case of a safety or quality problem, good documentation will allow you to trace the problem back to the source much more efficiently.

Try to establish a coding system that can quickly and easily identify the product. This coding system should be used throughout all documents kept by the operations, to easily identify the path the product in question has taken. Some producers use their best-before date as a lot code number, which is a sufficient system for those who do not press apples other than their own. Custom pressers, however, need a slightly more sophisticated system. Here is an example of a system used to code a product.

Every day of the year is assigned a random 3-digit number. Only people with your calendar will be able to read the code. For example:

Sun Mon. Tues. Wed. Thurs. Fri. Sat.
    1. 435 2. 196 3. 223 4. 427 5. 728
6. 330 7. 555 8. 890 9. 274 10. 119 11. 352 12. 363

Establish a two-digit code to identify the orchard from which the apples came. For example:

01 – Own Apples 02 – Brian’s Apple Farm 04 – Murray’s Orchards

Therefore, a batch of apples from Brian’s Apple Farm, pressed on October 12, would have a lot code number of:36301

Each jug of cider should bear a lot code number. The above system is simply a suggestion – any coding system that identifies when the cider was pressed and where the apples came from is sufficient.

Keep all records up to date, using proper lot code identification, signed by the person in charge and readily accessible. The various record-keeping

s referred to in the preceding sections of this Workbook will assist you greatly in monitoring the apple cider production process, from orchard management to retail.

Recalls (8)

A recall can be initiated in one of two ways:

Self Identified – you may have reason to believe that the safety of the product you produced is in question. You may realize after the product is finished that the conditions under which it was processed were unsafe, or a customer complaint might be brought to your attention. In either case, if you question the safety of your final product you need to contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Externally identified – The safety of your product might be questioned by your municipal, provincial or federal regulatory agencies. This may be due to positive sample results from monitoring programs or a foodborne illness might be traced back to your product.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) must be notified immediately by you if your operation has sold, distributed or imported a product that may pose a serious risk to consumers.

The Current Ontario Recall emergency number at the CFIA is:


this number is in operation from 8 am -11 pm, 7 days a week.

The CFIA will need the following information from you:

  • a detailed description of the nature of the problem
  • the name, brand, size, and lot code(s) affected
  • details of complaints received and any reported illnesses
  • the distribution of the product – local or national
  • when the product was distributed (specific dates)
  • label(s) of the product(s) in question
  • the total quantity of product imported and distributed
  • the name of your firm's contact with the CFIA
  • the name and telephone number(s) for your firm's after-hours contact.

To be able to provide the CFIA with the appropriate information, production records must be maintained so that, in cases of a recall, you know exactly which lots of cider are in the marketplace, how many bottles were produced, and where the product went after leaving your operation. See Forms 16, 17 and 18 in this section.

Proper labelling is key to an effective recall system – particularly the use of a lot code identification number. The ability to isolate a single lot as the source of the problem might prevent you from having to recall all of your product. This will minimize the economic impact of the recall on your operation.

Form 16: Cider Production and Distribution Log – Custom Presser

Production date: _________________________________

Lot code number: ________________________________

Supervisor ______________________________________

Storage tank: ____ A ____ B ____ C

Total litres made: ____ Total bins used: ____

Variety # Boxes Used Grower Distributed to
Name # of Litres





Form 17: Cider Production and Distribution Log – Self-Produced: Bottled

Prod. Date Code Lot No. 4 L Jug 2 L Jug Apple Variety Sold To





Form 18: Cider Production and Distribution Log – Self-Produced: Bulk

Prod. Date Code Lot No. Total No. of Litres Apple Variety Sold To





Transportation of Bulk or Bottled Cider (9)

Trucks should be cleaned and sanitized before transporting bulk or bottled cider to market (for information on approved cleaners and sanitizers, see Appendix 2). Avoid using vehicles that have been used to haul manure, compost or animals. Use new or clean containers for transporting cider.

Transporting product from refrigerated storage in bulk containers reduces the rate of growth of bacterial contaminants. Cider should be maintained at a temperature of 0–2°C (32–36°F) while in transport.

Cider Storing and Retailing (10)

Cider can be stored in refrigerated tanks before bottling or it can be put into containers directly after pressing. It is important that cider be cooled as quickly as possible to between 0–2°C (32–36°F). Fresh apple cider will last about two weeks if stored at 4°C -6°C (40°F -42° F). or lower. Adding sodium benzoate or other preservatives will extend the shelf life about one to two weeks. Freezing the product will also increase the shelf life.

Off-farm bottling can pose additional risks to the cider. On the farm, you have much greater control over the cleanliness and sanitation of your bottling operation. At market, whether inside or outside, you have less control over the cleanliness of your immediate environment. Keep stalls free of debris and damaged or decaying fruit, so as to lessen the intrusion of pests, rodents, and other animals.

Train all sales staff to use proper hygiene procedures. If the farmer’s market or roadside stand does not have hand washing facilities, bring your own. Provide a five-gallon container filled with potable water and equipped with a spigot, together with soap and single-use paper towels, or hand sanitizer.

Sales staff should advise consumers of the "best before date," and offer safety tips on proper storage and refrigeration of unpasteurized apple cider. Develop a first-in/first-out (FIFO) system. That is, sell the first produced cider first.

The bottling apparatus must be kept free and clear of foodborne contaminates. Filling customers’ bottles poses a significant risk of contamination. Regardless of how much care customers may have undertaken to clean and sanitize their bottles, no one can be 100 percent sure they are free from harmful microorganisms. Any foodborne illness caused by contaminated bottles, regardless of fault, will reflect unfavourably on you and all other producers of unpasteurized apple cider.

One unsanitary bottle coming into contact with a filling apparatus can also spread contamination to all future bottles filled that day. If possible, use only new bottles and caps and do not fill used bottles.

Rate Yourself

How would you rate yourself with regards to the safe cider production best management practices put forward in this Workbook?

Use the scale below to determine rankings and identify areas that might need improvement.

As you make improvements, remember that food safety must be an ongoing process and priority. Never let down your guard! Vigilant cleanliness and sanitation procedures will go a long way to ensuring that you produce the safest and best quality unpasteurized apple cider.

Commitment begins with you!

Primary Production

Orchard management 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Harvesting practices 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Intermediate Operations

Transportation practices 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Fruit storage practices 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Fruit sorting 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Fruit cleaning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Processing Facilities and Operations Premises and Equipment

Pre-operation cleaning and set-up 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Daily operations and routine cleaning 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Post-operations cleanup 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Pest control 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Water supply 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Personnel 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Fruit inspection 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Fruit processing 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Packaging 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Labelling 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Records 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Recall 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Transportation of Bulk/Bottled Cider 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Cider Storage and Retailing 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10


In Print

Code of Practice for the Production and Distribution of Unpasteurized Apple and Other Fruit Juice/Cider in Canada
Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada

Food Safety Begins on the Farm – A Grower’s Guide
Good Agricultural Practices for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Cornell Good Agricultural Practices Program

Fresh Apple Cider Mill
Michigan Department of Agriculture
Food and Dairy Division
Lansing, Michigan

Reducing Food Safety Risks in Apples
A Self-Assessment Workbook for Producers of Apples, Juice and Cider
Washington State University

Unpasteurized Juice/Cider Safety Project
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food
Food Inspection Branch, August 2001

On the Internet

Contact by Phone

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food,

Agricultural Information Contact center: 1-877-424-1300

For Public Health Unit information see above website or call:

1-800-268-1154 (Toll-free in Ontario only)

Appendix 1: Pathogens, related illness and associated foods

Pathogen: E. coli O157:H7 (Bacteria)

  • Incubation Period: 1–8 days
  • Duration of Illness: 5–10 days
  • Signs and Symptoms: Severe diarrhea that is often bloody, abdominal pain and vomiting. Usually, little or no fever is present. More common in children under 4 years. Can lead to severe kidney problems or death.
  • Associated Foods: Undercooked beef, unpasteurized milk and juice/cider, raw fruits and vegetables (e.g. sprouts), salami, salad dressing, and contaminated water.

Pathogen: Salmonella spp. (Bacteria)

  • Incubation Period: 1–3 days
  • Duration of Illness: 4–7 days
  • Signs and Symptoms: Diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, vomiting. S. typhi and S. paratyphi produce typhoid with insidious onset characterized by fever, headache, constipation, malaise, chills, and myalgia; diarrhea is uncommon and vomiting usually not severe.
  • Associated Foods: Contaminated eggs, poultry, unpasteurized milk or juice/cider, cheese, contaminated raw fruits and vegetables (alfalfa sprouts, melons). S. typhi epidemics are often related to fecal contamination of water supplies or street-vended foods.

Pathogen: Cryptosporidium parvum (Parasite)

  • Incubation Period: 7 days average (2–28 days)
  • Duration of Illness: Days to weeks
  • Signs and Symptoms: Cramping, abdominal pain, watery diarrhea; fever and vomiting may be present and may be relapsing.
  • Associated Foods: Contaminated water supply, vegetables, fruits, unpasteurized milk.

Pathogen: Hepatitis A (Virus)

  • Incubation Period: 30 days average (15–50 days)
  • Duration of Illness: Variable, 2 weeks to 3 months
  • Signs and Symptoms: Diarrhea, dark urine; jaundice; and flu-like symptoms (i.e., fever, headache, nausea and abdominal pain).
  • Associated Foods: Shellfish harvested from contaminated waters, raw produce, uncooked foods and cooked foods that are not re-heated after contact with infected food handler.

Source: Diagnosis and Management of Foodborne Illnesses: A Primer for Physicians. Foodborne Illnesses Table. Viral and Bacterial Agents. American Medical Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (Food and Drug Administration), Food Safety and Inspection Service (US Department of Agriculture), January 2001.

Appendix 2: CFIA-approved materials and products

Accepted Construction Materials, Packaging Materials and Non-Food Chemical Products

The following is a list of the types of products, applicable to apple cider production, that can be found on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s list of approved products. To view the list in detail, please visit the CFIA website.

The following categories of products can be found on the CFIA website:

  • general cleaners
  • hand cleaners/personal hygiene
  • cleanders/defoamers for washing fruits and vegetables, to be followed by a potable water rinse
Coatings for construction
  • coating for walls and ceilings
  • coating for floors
  • coating for structural members
  • internal tank coatings for food or potable water contact
  • sealants for minimal or incidental food contact
  • reusable shipping containers for food contact
Microbial control agents for food-processing water
  • for fruit and vegetable wash
  • for fruit and vegetable flume water
Containers for food
  • in-plant containers for food contact
  • in-plant containers for non-food contact
  • disposable shipping containers / single use for food contact
  • reusable shipping containers for food contact
  • general
  • hand dip
  • insecticides
  • rodenticides

Appendix 3: Proper Care of Your Well

This information is from the Regional Municipality of Halton Public Health Unit website:

Well location

  • Make sure the well is located at a safe distance from any source of contamination such as septic systems, barnyards and roads.
  • A dug well should be at least 30 metres away from a septic system and a drilled well should be at least 15 metres away.
  • The land around a well should slope away from the well to prevent surface water from flowing to the well casing.
  • Do not store, use or dispose of garbage, manure, petroleum, salt, pesticides or any other potential contaminant near the well.
  • Always dispose of household hazardous wastes via the Region's Household Hazardous Waste Program. Remember, waste poured into the ground can eventually get into your water supply or your neighbour’s.

Well construction

  • The sanitary well seal and the cap should be securely in place and watertight. If the cap is damaged or cracked, replace it right away.
  • The sanitary well seal could be a minimum of 30 centimetres above ground level. The connection at the well casing for pump and electrical lines should be watertight and properly sealed.
  • Well vent pipes should have screens to prevent anything from getting into the well

Protect your water supply

  • Make sure the well lid and seal are secure, in good repair and watertight.
  • Stop liquids, waste material, garbage, or manure piles from draining towards the well.
  • Do not treat the area around the well with pesticides or fertilizer.
  • Do not flush oils, detergents, paints, solvents or other chemicals down the toilet or sink.
  • Chlorinate and flush your water supply systems after any repairs.

Appendix 4: Well Water Testing and Treatment

Call your local Health Unit to determine the proper procedure for your area.

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-888-466-2372 ext 519-826-4230
Local: (519) 826-4230
Author: Food Safety and Environment Divison/OMAFRA
Creation Date: 19 February 2003
Last Reviewed: 11 June 2015