Cleaning and Sanitizing
Cider Production Areas
A cleaning and sanitizing program is essential for
minimizing food safety risks in the production of apple cider. Cleaning
involves the removal of food residues and non-organic debris from
food and non-food contact surfaces, while sanitizing reduces the
number of pathogenic and/or spoilage-causing organisms to safe levels.
It is important to understand this distinction.
The cleaning and sanitizing protocol for all food processing/packing
facilities, including those producing apple cider, should follow
- Rough Clean
The rough clean eliminates as much gross soil and debris as possible
from surfaces before wet cleaning begins. Brooms, shovels, scrapers,
etc. should be used to physically remove debris from equipment,
utensils, walls, and floors. Dismantling equipment may be required
to remove trapped food debris.
In this step, equipment and the production area are flushed with
potable water until they are visibly clean. Hard-to-reach areas
and areas where materials accumulate, such as the apple chopper
and press, may require particular care. Stubborn soils can be
addressed using mechanical action or increased water pressure.
However, caution must be exercised as higher water pressures can
generate bacteria-laden aerosols (fine droplets in the air) which
can cross-contaminate other surfaces. The use of high-pressure
washers is discouraged.
- Wash/application of cleaning agent
The objective is to remove soils at the microbiological level.
Washing requires application of the right cleaner at the right
concentration, with water at an appropriate temperature, adequate
contact time, and the use of mechanical action when necessary.
Always read and follow cleaner label instructions.
- Organic soils - Soils associated with apple cider production
are mostly organic. Except when cleaning is delayed and soils
have dried to surfaces, organic soils are easily removed using
a mild to moderately alkaline detergent in warm water.
- Inorganic minerals - Inorganic mineral deposits from hard
water require acidic cleaners.
- Biofilms - When cleaning is inadequate or infrequent, biofilms
form on surfaces. Biofilms are difficult to remove, and as
such require stronger, more sophisticated cleaners along with
extra mechanical action to eliminate.
To remove detergent and any remaining soils, the wash step is
followed by a rinse with potable water. The lowest effective water
pressure and volume should be used to reduce the risk of aerosols
A visual inspection of all equipment, utensils, walls and floors
should follow the post-rinse to verify their cleanliness. Any
areas or equipment parts that fail this inspection should be re-washed,
rinsed, and re-inspected.
Only when surfaces are clean can sanitizing take place. Sanitizers,
especially chlorine, are rendered ineffective by organic matter-hence
the importance of clean surfaces!
Several types of sanitizers may be used, including chlorine, peroxyacetic
acid (PAA) and quaternary ammonium compounds (Quats). Each type
has an optimal contact time, temperature, and concentration, and
all can be applied by spray or by foam. Always read and follow
After a sanitizer has been applied, surfaces should be left
to air dry. When equipment is not used for four hours or more,
the sanitation step should be repeated before production resumes
to address remaining microorganisms that may have propagated
to dangerous levels. In some instances, a potable water rinse
may be necessary.
All cleaning and sanitizing activities should be recorded. Deviations
from the protocol or expected results should also be recorded
along with the corrective actions taken. Records are both a management
tool and proof of due diligence.
Additional information regarding cleaning and sanitizing is available
For food safety information on apple cider production, please visit
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300