The other cider the farm gate
Ross Hume Hall
1st June, 2000
Ross Hume Hall explains how bureaucracy and regulations are crushing small farmers in the USA
Does the following enticing notice printed on jugs of unpasteurized apple cider make you want to buy the product? 'This product has not been pasteurized and therefore may contain harmful bacteria, which can cause serious illness in children, the elderly and persons with weakened immune systems.’
‘I hated putting that warning on my cider,’ says Nick Meyer, proprietor of Chapin Orchard, Essex Junction, Vermont, USA. ‘It equates cider with cigarettes.’
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, believes that drinking unpasteurized cider and smoking cigarettes are equal threats to your health. In fact, the FDA was so alarmed by the threat of – would you believe it – ‘cider poisoning’, that in 1998 it ruled all cider must be pasteurized. Following protests, it exempted family-size operations like that of Nick Meyer, but is now reconsidering the exemption. The result could devastate small cider makers.
Charles Brown, of Castleton, Vermont, runs a farm and apple orchard. He makes 10 to 15, 000 gallons of unpasteurized cider a season, most of which he sells at his farm stand....
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