State shuts down SW MI cider maker over sanitation concerns

Southwest Michigan

Pica’s All-Natural apple cider. (Courtesy Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development)

HARTFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — A Hartford-area apple farm has been told to stop making cider because it’s not clean enough.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development issued the cease-and-desist order Monday to Pica Farms on 66th Street near 66th avenue in Hartford Township.

The state said unsanitary conditions could harm customers and that Pica hadn’t fixed food law violations found during previous inspections. Pica now has until Nov. 5 to fix the problems or face fines and a possible suspension of its license.

The state says anybody who bought any gallons or half-gallons of Pica’s All-Natural cider this year should throw them out.

MDARD says its inspection found food and mold residue on cider processing equipment and that the farm wasn’t using food-grade containers at some parts of the cider-making process. It said the farm also wasn’t making sure all equipment was properly cleaned to prevent problems with allergies and contamination.

The main concern prompted by the problems is E. coli contamination. If you drank Pica’s cider and you get sick, call your doctor.

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