Environmental Heath and Trading Standards

Under the Food Safety Act, before you start to sell, you will need to register as a food production business with your local District Council Environmental Health Dept. This will ultimately lead to a visit to check out your premises, view your HACCP plan (cleaning and hazard risk assessment).

With this in mind, start to write up cleaning rota's, keep a record for batch control and think about having your cider/perry tested (you will need to establish its precise alcohol content to comply with the labelling regulations in any case). Once registered, you will probably get a periodical visit from Environmental Health or Trading Standards to ensure you are doing what you should.

A very popular topic of discussion on the group is the HACCP plan. What is it? Is there a template? How do I get one? We cannot provide a ready to use version - each HACCP is meant to reflect each individual business (and the EHO's know how to use the internet!!) What we can do is provide the information that should help you create your own:

Each business will experience different levels of interest from the authorities. However, it is probably worth investigating a Level 2 Award in Food Safety.

Trading Standards/ Weights & Measures

This is an important factor to consider when starting a business selling a bottled product, and once you have registered yourself as a small business expect contact from Trading Standards to ensure that you are on the right track. It ought to be added that generally these people are there to advise as opposed to punish - and you are sure to forget 'something' along the way.

- Measurements/Volumes. Short selling folks is the quickest way to bring on a visit from the TS. The safest bet is to plan to 'over fill' by a small percentage - it would be interesting to see if anyone has ever been reported for over filling! This can be done by using a filling measurement. Usually the distance (in mm) from the top of the bottle to the top of the liquid can be found on the bottom of the bottle. You will need to check with the bottle manufacturer whether this is the top of the glass or cap included.

Measuring the distance like this generally requires a 'template' which should be purchased from the bottle supplier and be approved by TS. A more expensive route is to buy a bottling machine with variable nozzles. This can guarantee consistancy (as long as they are set up correctly).

Another way of measuring quantity is by using scales - although bear in mind bottle weights can vary, and TS will almost certainly want to check and stamp your scales to ensure they are accurate.

Essentially, a TS officer is going to ask 'how can you prove this' in regards to ensuring the correct quantity of cider is being sold.

- % Vol. Once you start to sell, a hobby hydrometer is no longer sufficient to measure the alcohol volume, and you will need to seek out more accurate instruments, which can be expensive.

Ironically, however, the UK law allows you to be 1% out either way in your eventual ABV - this is the reason that most producers of full juice cider opt for between 6.5 and 7%



Equipment - Sundries

Quick Links:

HMRC Notice 162

National Market Traders Federation

Food Standards Agency

Environmental Health


We are always after help and guidance in order to make the commercial side of cider making easier for those who want to start out.

If you have any experiences you wish to share with us, join the group and contact the administrator (or just post your experiences!)