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NM Apple Cider Maker Not Achieving 5-Log Reduction

A juice maker in Carrizozo, NM must prove to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that it can achieve a 5-log reduction of “the pertinent microorganisms” for the shelf life of its apple cider.

FDA only recently released a Feb. 20 warning letter sent to James P. and Patricia R. Niebaum, owners of the Carrizozo Orchard, known locally for its apple, cherry and raspberry ciders.

The warning letter stems from a late 2012  FDA inspection of the juice processing facility, located about 140 miles southwest of Albuquerque, along with the owners’ response to the agency’s Form 483 inspection report. FDA found Carrizozo’s apple cider adulterated because of serious deviations from the juice Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations.

In responding to the inspection, the warning letter says the juice maker did not verify how it was going to implement a 5-log bacteria reduction process for the apple cider. A 5-log reduction requires that the number of microbes be reduced to the point where the number is 100,000 times smaller than the starting point.

FDA said the apple cider is being repackaged without a 5-log reduction.

Federal inspectors found that the juice maker lacks both a HACCP plan for apple cider and a standard operating procedure for sanitation for the facility. The warning letter advised the company of “eight key areas of sanitation” that must be addressed.

The safety of the water, maintenance of hand washing, hand sanitizing and toilet facilities, employee health and the exclusion of pests from the facility were among areas specially called out.

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