Michigan Apple News

posted on July 18, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gretchen Mensing
(800) 456-2753

Lansing, Mich. - Consumer confidence in Michigan apple cider should be even stronger this fall, according to the Michigan Apple Committee (MAC). Together with the Michigan Department of Agriculture, Michigan State University Extension, and cider makers from across the state, MAC has revitalized a Cider Safety Task Force to strengthen standards for the state's 110 licensed cider makers.

Mike Beck of Uncle John's Cider Mill in St. Johns, and a member of the Cider Safety Task Force, knows the importance of strengthening these standards.

"Food safety is important to consumers. Letting consumers know how we have strengthened our standards will instill more confidence in buying habits. Consumer confidence is important for the sustainability of the cider industry as a whole," Beck said.

Michigan was the pioneer in cider safety and quality in the late 1990s, when the Cider Safety Task Force was first created to work with the Michigan Department of Agriculture on Good Manufacturing Practices.

"Michigan adopted the first Good Manufacturing Practices to ensure consumer confidence, and they have since been used by other states as a model in creating safe cider practices," said Denise Yockey, Executive Director of the Michigan Apple Committee. "Since we moved forward in ‘tightening up' the GMPs this year, other states have already expressed interest in again using our work as a model."

The Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) are listed on the web at www.Michigan.gov/mda under the Food Safety heading. Some of the tightened regulations include more detailed guidelines about effective washing, culling and prevention of contamination. Cider pasteurization is not mandatory in Michigan for cider makers producing it at their own locations. However, all cider sold for retail at another location from pressing must be pasteurized. Michigan has never had a case of foodborne illness traced to cider. The cider GMPs have the force of law and will be enforced during cider mill inspections by MDA inspectors.

The Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded nonprofit organization devoted to promotion, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption by consumers in Michigan and around the world. For more information, recipes and a list of farm markets and cider mills, visit MichiganApples.com. 

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