Oct 30, 2020
Michigan farm ordered to stop processing, selling cider due to mill conditions

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has ordered Pica Farms, located at 64205 66th St., in Hartford, to stop all cider production and distribution (retail and wholesale) due to insanitary conditions that may cause imminent or substantial hazard to people who consume their products.

According to a news release, MDARD issued the cease and desist order on Oct. 26, after a routine inspection uncovered several violations of the Michigan Food Law, P.A., 92 of 2000, as amended, including a number that still hadn’t been corrected from previous inspections. Pica Farms has until Nov. 5, to correct the violations or face additional regulatory action, including fines and possible license suspension. Pica Farms may not resume cider production and distribution until the violations are corrected AND verified by MDARD.

Products affected by this advisory include all gallon and half-gallon containers of apple and apple/fruit blend ciders produced by Pica Farms under the “Pica’s All-Natural” brand. Retail food establishments are asked to remove products from sale immediately and contact their MDARD inspector for instructions on proper disposal or removal.

Some of the violations found by MDARD food inspectors during the routine inspection include:

  • Food and/or mold-like residues observed on the food contact surfaces of equipment used during processing.
  • The firm is using non-food grade containers and equipment to hold and transport food, and to catch pressed juices; and a non-food grade sump pump submerged in pressed juice to pump the juice into the holding tanks.
  • The firm was unable to produce records during inspection that indicate monitoring of sanitation at key points during processing.
  • The firm is not ensuring all plant equipment and utensils used in manufacturing, processing, packing and holding food is adequately cleanable to protect against allergen cross-contact and contamination.

E. coli is the greatest concern for with cider products processed under insanitary conditions. E. coli causes a diarrhea often with bloody stools. Although most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, some people can develop a form of kidney failure called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly; the condition can lead to serious kidney damage and even death.

If you have purchased any products from Pica Farms in 2020, please discard them immediately. If you think you or a family member have become ill from consuming any of these products, seek immediate medical attention.

Photo: Pica Farms Cider Label

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