Understanding the regulations for selling juice in the state of South Dakota can be difficult to navigate. This article was developed to address some of the questions around juice at retail as well as selling juice at a Farmer’s Market and to also ensure that seller’s may be well informed to ensure they are selling juice that meets regulatory requirements as well ensuring the product is safe.
What is Juice?
Juice is the aqueous liquid expressed or extracted from one or more fruits or vegetables, purees of the edible portions of one or more fruits or vegetables, or any concentrates of such liquid or puree. There are different risks associated with juices based on the type of juice that is being processed as the type of juice determines whether a juice is high or low acid. Although pathogens may not grow in a high acidity/low pH environment (e.g. pH <4.6), certain foodborne pathogens can still survive in the juice such as Salmonella or Escherichia coli. Juices with lower acidity/higher pH (e.g. pH >4.6) would require a treatment to inhibit spore germination like vegetable juice because the pH is not low enough.
Pasteurization is a 5-log reduction in pathogens. Pasteurization of juices is typically accomplished through time and temperature, although other methods may be utilized as well. UV Treatment may achieve a 5-log reduction, but the effectiveness of the UV treatment is affected by the turbidity of the juice as juice that is high in color and solids transmits relatively little UV light. A description of a 5-log reduction is as follows:
- With an initial load of 100,000 colony forming units (CFU) of pathogens, a 1 log reduction means the number of pathogens would be reduced to 10,000 CFUs
- With an initial load of 100,000 CFUs of pathogens, a 2 log reduction means the number of pathogens would be reduced to 1,000 CFUs
- With an initial load of 100,000 CFUs of pathogens, a 3 log reduction means the number of pathogens would be reduced to 100 CFUs
- With an initial load of 100,000 CFUs of pathogens, a 4 log reduction means the number of pathogens would be reduced to 10 CFUs
- With an initial load of 100,000 CFUs of pathogens, a 5 log reduction means the number of pathogens would be reduced to 1 CFUs
The time-temperature pasteurization process used in the 5-log reduction of the pathogen of concern must be from a process authority and validated as effective. Pasteurized juices may be held at refrigerated temperatures to extend the shelf life, as not all spoilage organisms are destroyed, similar to milk. The pasteurization time-temperatures of juices are listed below:
- Orange juice from fruit: Salmonella 71°C (160°F)/3 seconds
- Apple juice from fruit; Cryptosporidium Parvum and Escherichia coli 0157:H7 71°C (160°F)/6 seconds
- Any acidic juice from concentrate (i.e. pH <4.6): Listeria 71°C (160°F)/3 seconds
Harvesting of Fruits
Manuel harvesting of fruits involves contact with human hands increasing the risk of foodborne illness. It is important that harvesters have Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and have access to hygiene and hand washing stations. Using fruit that falls on the ground, called “drops” or “windfalls”, increases the risk of microbial contamination. For example, if wild or domestic animals roam the area, fallen fruit may have contact with ground contaminated with fecal matter. Foreign materials such as twigs, leaves, stones, and insects, and bird droppings can also increase the risk of juice contamination. Fruit that has fallen on the ground is also at risk for having the rind or peel damaged. It is a best practice to scrap the fruit that has fallen on the ground. Injured fruit whose outer protective epidermal barrier is damaged, bruised or punctured allows entry of bacterial pathogens and fungi. Fluids released by injured fruit cells also provide nourishment to pathogens that can survive at refrigerated temperatures and multiply at non-refrigerated temperatures.
Sorting and culling must be done carefully in juicing operations. Some establishments dump harvested fruit into the mill or juicer without sorting or culling. This increase the risk of bacterial and patulin contamination. Patulin is heat stable and not eliminated by pasteurization. Patulin is a mycotoxin that is produced by molds and is most commonly found in rotting apples. Culling damaged produce is the most important step in preparing fruits and vegetables for juicing. It must be done to prevent contamination of the juice. Using only sound, mature fruit and vegetables for extracting juice and temperature control for extended storage are critical in preventing bacterial and fungal growth. Lastly, transporting fruit in containers or boxes with mold, pieces of decayed fruit or other foreign matter increases the risk of juice contamination.
Citrus fruits may include oranges, lemons, grapefruits, pomelos, and limes. These fruits are considered acidic/low pH since their pH is <4.6. It is unlikely that pathogens will enter intact, sound fruit that is protected by the peel or rind. In the case of citrus fruits, surface treatments may be used to achieve the 5-log reduction. Oranges are handpicked from the tree when they are fully ripened and transported to the juicing establishment. Oranges would then be transferred to the washing station where brush rollers and a water wash help remove surface contamination. After washing, oranges would then undergo sorting and culling via visual inspection. The sorting and culling would remove any fruit that shows signs of damage or mold. The oranges would then go through a validated process involving control measures such as washing the fruit in hot water, acid wash using roller brushes, application of chemical sanitizers, final potable rinse, and special extraction methods. These control measures allowed specifically for citrus fruits, when implemented together, have the cumulative effect of a 5-log reduction in the finished juice product. Citrus fruits are the only fruits that can use a surface treatment of the fruit rind to achieve the required 5-log reduction in pathogens of concerned for the packaged juice. All packaged juices produced by a juice processor must be pasteurized for sale or treated in some other manner to achieve a 5-log reduction. Only retail processors may use a Warning Statement on the label of untreated, packaged juice.
Most vegetables are grown in the ground, which can greatly increase the risk of contamination from pathogens found in soil and impure water used for irrigation. The microorganisms of public health concern for vegetables include Salmonella, Cryptosporidium parvum, and Clostridium botulinum spores. As mentioned above, vegetables tend to have a higher pH than fruits and offer less protection against the growth of pathogenic microorganisms. A 5-log reduction or kill step will eliminate vegetative pathogens but will not kill Clostridium Botulinum spores. Because of the risk of germination and toxin production of the clostridium botulinum spores, an additional treatment is required. Such treatments could include acid acidifying the juice with citric acid to adjust the pH to 4.6 or less or providing a higher heat treatment to control Clostridium botulinum spores. Because of high color and solids of vegetable juice, UV light treatment is not effective.
Juice processors produce packaged juice sold to other businesses as institutional, bulk, or retail items. 21 CFR 120 stipulates that all such juice must be prepared using a treatment that achieves a 5-log reduction of the most pertinent pathogen in the juice and comply with a validated HACCP plan.
Retail establishments produce juice sold directly to consumers. Section 3-404.11 of the Food Code stipulates if a retail establishment produces juice that is packaged on-site and then sold directly to consumers, a HACCP plan is required with a 5-log reduction in pathogens; or a warning statement must accompany the product, which states “WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and, therefore, may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.” No variance from the Food Code is required because this is a performance standard.
There are 3 exceptions to the 5-log Reduction. The 1st exception is that in lieu of a 5-log reduction, a retail establishment may place a warning statement on the package stating the juice has not been pasteurized and may contain harmful bacteria that cause serious illness in susceptible populations. The 2nd exception is retail and wholesale citrus juicers can use a surface disinfection treatment for citrus fruit in lieu of treating the juice. The 3rd exception is that if a retail establishment serves fresh juice by the glass, or in small batches, no 5-log reduction of pathogens or warning label is required.
In the state of South Dakota, juice it is required that juice being sold at retail follow Juice HACCP and have a Juice HACCP Plan. Exceptions are available as noted above, but strict adherence to the exceptions must be followed. If juice were to be sold at the Farmer’s Market, it would need to meet all of the requirements set forth in Juice HACCP.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2013 Model Food Code Annex 3.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration 2001. Juice HACCP Regulations.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2007. Guidance for Industry: Refrigerated Carrot Juice and Other Refrigerated Low-Acid Juices.
- FAO. 1995. Fruit juice technologies. In: Fruit and Vegetable Processing.
- Kinder, G.I. Juice Safety. A University of Missouri Extension publication.
- Stutsman, M.J. September 20, 2010. Juice and cider: Make sure they’re safe.
- Drew, C., and Belluck P. 1998. Deadly Bacteria a New Threat to Fruit and Produce in U.S. The New York Times.
- Vojdani, J.D., Beuchat, L.R., and Tauxe, R.V. 2008. Juice-associated outbreaks of human illness in the United States, 1995 through 2005. J Food Prot. 71(2): 356-64.
- NEHA Education and Training. (2018). Special Processes at Retail.