Retail Unpasteurized Juice

Retailers of juice are those who sell directly to the consumer at their own farm stand, a farmer’s market or online.  Retailers do not need to adopt a HACCP plan and have the option to treat or not to treat their cider to achieve the 5 log reduction of E. coli O157:H7 or cryptosporidium parvum.  (Those who do not achieve a 5 log reduction, i.e., those who sell unpasteurized juice, must have a warning label on the bottle.)

Does this mean that retailers do not have to follow rules and regulations to make their cider safer?  No. Small, local operations must consider that the products they are processing are at risk for contamination with bacteria, viruses, and protozoan parasites that cause foodborne illness.  There continue to be foodborne disease outbreaks associated with unpasteurized juices and cider, with documented outbreaks occurring in Michigan in 2012, Maryland in 2010, Iowa in 2008 and Massachusetts in 2007.

Cider processors must comply with certain federal, state and local rules and regulations.  Keep in mind that an outbreak of foodborne illness attributed to a retail operation will have a negative impact on all of the cider industry, as well as devastating effects on the processor’s operation.

In Connecticut, you may still process fresh juice and sell it directly to the consumer, even though it may not be pasteurized.  This includes cider pressing at an orchard for retail sale on site or at a farmers’ market and retail juice bars.

If you are a processor of unpasteurized juices in Connecticut, you must have a license from the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP). 

Contact DCP at 860.713.6160 or DCP Food Licensing and Registration

Regulations regarding non-alcoholic beverages may be found here.

Regulations specific to apple cider and juice may be found here.

Food Safety Plan for Retail Juice and Cider Processors………….Step by Step

To help retail processors of juice to produce safe cider, UConn and the Department of Consumer Protection developed this workbook.  The workbook takes the retailer step-by-step through the development of a Food Safety Plan.  While simpler than a HACCP plan, a Food Safety Plan will help you to focus on the steps in your operation that need special attention.  It is likely that you are already using many food safety practices in your operation.  Formalizing these practices and writing them down as a Food Safety Plan will indicate to regulators and consumers alike that you are committed to producing a safe juice product.