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Small Independent 

Cidermakers Association

Craft Cider Definition

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The SICA cider specification follows HMRC notice 162 

with the following exceptions:

 

1) Cider must contain a minimum of 90% apple juice when packaged for sale. Perry must contain a minimum 90%  pear juice when packaged for sale. 

 

2) Only fresh pressed juice from UK grown apples and pears may be fermented.

 

3) Any marketing claims for apple provenance must be true and supported by records. 

 

4) Only juice produced during a first mechanical pressing is allowed, second pressing or juice extraction using enzyme decoction is not permitted. 

 

5) Chaptalisation is permitted providing the 90% juice minimum is observed. Dilution after chaptalistaion is not permitted. 

 

6) The use of any artificial ingredients such as; artificial colours, artificial sweeteners or preservatives must be declared on the product label.

Quality Mark

We believe that the best cider & Perry is made from fresh juice, not from concentrate. Unfortunately it is not always easy for a consumer to sort their way through the marketing speak to find out what a product is really made from. Many consumers don't realise that the legal requirement for juice in cider or perry is only 35%

To help consumers choose the products they like, we have developed a National Quality Mark for cider. It is the first of its kind to guarantee a consumer that the cider or perry they buy is made to the highest standard with a MINIMUM of 90% fermented fresh juice in the finished cider or perry.

You might ask 'why it isn't 100% fresh juice?' Unfortunately, unless a cidermaker is going to hand dry every apple after washing, and wipe dry the inside of every barrel, you couldn't truthfully say 100%.
There are also limits to what can be proven, particularly by small craft products without expensive laboratories, there really isn't a reliable way to measure the difference between say, 98% and 99%.
If our claim wasn't to be an empty one there needs to be firm evidence to support what is said. So we decided that MINIMUM 90% was an honest claim that we could back up with proof and have a certified Quality Mark that is externally audited to show that this claim is true. 

SICA QUALITY MARK COSTS
 

£20 per 1000 litres, or part thereof, of qualifying cider sold.
With a minimum charge of £20 and a maximum charge of £800
During the initial year the QM fee includes SICA membership.

If you are interested in our Quality Mark, please read the protocol below. Then, if you are still interested, but would like more information click the link here to send us an email with your questions
Alternatively if you would like to register for the Quality Mark click the "Register here" button below. This will take you the Kiwa website and to a short registration questionnaire. Please fill in the questionnaire and Kiwa will get in touch. They will probably have a few more questions and then will send you the Quality Mark service agreement that says you will keep to the specification and that Kiwa can come and inspect your records. Lastly there is then a licensing agreement giving you rights to use the QM. 
Once Kiwa have collected all the paperwork, they will e-mail you copies of the logo for you to use on your labels etc. 
We are going to have some pre-printed stickers that people will be able to buy, but that has proved harder to organise than your would think. We will post a link here as soon as we have them

How the Quality Mark works

Full details on how the Quality Mark is set up and administered.


Introduction

The Standard has been written specifically for medium and small independent businesses involved in the production of Cider and Perry.

 The Standard’s main principles are to ensure and maintain product legality and quality.

The Standard is designed to offer confidence in the systems and procedures implemented and is subject to a verification audit by an approved Certification Body.

Small independent cidermakers association takes full responsibility for the objects, the content and the integrity of the scheme.

Small independent cidermakers association maintains the scheme and provides guidance as required. If further information is required, please contact the association directly.

Small independent cidermakers association is responsible for evaluating and managing the risks/liabilities arising from its activities.

Rules

Members who sign up to the Standard are agreeing to conform to the Standard at all times to remain in certification.

Certification in only awarded if the Standard is met, this is verified annually by independent Standard approved assessors who meet the specified criteria.

The Standard is due to be reviewed in its entirety on a four year cycle, however there may be changes made at any time, for example in response to new or amended legislation. Any changes or “authorised amendments” will be communicated. 

The Standard is additional to any statutory requirements. Adherence to them will not provide exemption from current legislation and you must comply with all relevant legislation. 

Any false or misleading statement made on the application forms, during verification assessments, or in any other communication may lead to suspension or withdrawal of certification and even exclusion from future participation.

Application

A separate application is required for each separate business. Where companies outsource any of the processes, this needs to be fully documented.

An application form will be sent for completion which will request basic company information relating to number of processes…….

By signing and returning the application form you agree to be bound by the Standard and rules. 

A formal quotation will be provided and payment will be requested prior to audit.

A new application form will be required to be completed annually.

Verification Assessment Duration

A typical verification audit will be half a day (4 hours). However, this is dependent on a number of factors and can be more or less time.

The Certification Body shall indicate the approximate duration of the verification assessment. The calculation for the audit duration is based on the following:

-    Number of processes carried out

-    Number of brands produced

-    Number of employees

-    Size of the site

Other factors that are taken into duration calculations may include

-    Complexity of processes

-    Labour intensity of process

-    Communication difficulties (e.g. language)

-    Previous non-conformities identified

Prior to Assessment

Information will be requested prior to the verification assessment to enable the auditor to familiarise themselves with the site and plan the audit. This will include as a minimum

-    Hours of work

-    Any Processes likely to be in taking place on day of assessment

-    Plan of the site

 

Assessment

Assessment will take place by an annual questionnaire. Assessment visits will be made on a frequency commensurate with the size of the business and the KIWA risk assessment, at a frequency between 1 and 3 years.

Assessment visits will follow a standard format:

 

•    Opening Meeting

•    Assessment Activities

•    Preparation of findings and any non-conformities

•    Closing Meeting

 

Each of these stages is described below.

 

Opening Meeting: 

 

The assessor needs to check that information provided is correct. This must be done at the very start of the visit so that any changes to the programme can be planned. The assessor will explain the audit plan and how the assessment will be carried out.

It is important that senior management attend the opening meeting.

Assessment Activities:

The assessor will make a detailed examination of the site including where relevant the processes and products. This will be carried out by visiting and observing the site operations taking place at the time of the audit. Whilst it is appreciated that not all processes may be taking place at the time of the assessment it is important that there is evidence that the operations stated in the application form and scope of the assessment are carried out at the site.

The assessment will be split between time in the facility (20 - 30% approximately) and time examining documentation (70 - 80% approximately).

The purpose of the assessment is to ascertain compliance of the site with the Standard requirements. If the assessor finds that you do not conform to one or more of the requirements of the Standard this will be highlighted as the assessment progresses.

Preparation of Findings:

Assessors will prepare a Non-Conformance and Corrective Action Plan Report. 

Any non-conformance needs to be categorised according to its significance. – the following guidance is applied to decisions regarding the classification of non-compliances:

Critical – where there is a complete failure to comply with the standard and / or relevant legislation. (The certification body head office and Standard owner will be informed immediately if a critical non-conformance is raised at a previously certificated site).

Major – where there is a substantial failure (little or no evidence) to comply with a requirement of the Standard.

Minor – evidence that a clause of the Standard has not been fully met - but on the basis of objective evidence the conformance of the product is not at risk.

 

Closing Meeting:

At the end of the assessment a closing meeting will be held. Senior management must be involved in this meeting and the purpose of the meeting is for the assessor to present their findings and to explain any non-compliances identified against the requirements of the Standard. 

Non-conformances

A non-conformance graded as critical will result in no award of certification to the Standard or suspension for already certified businesses until the site has been re-audited and shown to comply. 

Failure to rectifminor non-compliances within 28 days of the assessment will result in no award of certification to the Standard or suspension for already certified sites until the site has provided satisfactory evidence that they have been corrected.

The Certification Body will also reserve the right to suspend your certification in the case of a large number of such non-compliances or in the event of the same non-compliance being found on successive assessment visits.

Once your certificate is suspended you must rectify the non-compliances within 3 months of the date of suspension otherwise membership to the Standard will be revoked.  You can only regain certification by following the re-certification procedure sent you by KIWA. 

 

Certification 

 

Certificates are only granted if a business complies with all of the applicable requirements of the Standard.  

 

The decision to award certification to the Standard is taken during a technical review undertaken by the Certification Body once they are in receipt of the assessor report, non-compliances and corrective actions. The decision and awarding of any certification will be made no later than 42 days after the assessment visit.

 

The scope of the certification shall state the range of activities that the business undertakes.

 

Only activities that are included on the scope of the certificate and applicable to the locations assessed may be claimed.

 

Certificates are not transferable and remain the property of the Standard owner and the Certification Body.

 

 

Termination of Membership, Withdrawing of Certification

 

If a business is suspended and do not take the necessary action to rectify the non-compliances

within 3 months your certificate will be withdrawn. 

 

The Standard owner and the Certification Body reserves the right to bar future applications or specify particular conditions for re application.

 

The Standard owner and the Certification Body reserves the right to refuse/terminate membership and

withdraw any certificate when it considers that it is necessary to do so to prevent the Standard or the Standard owner being brought into disrepute.

 

Complaints and Appeals

 

If there is a complaint about the application process, charges, or are dissatisfied with how an

assessment has been conducted and/or the outcome of a certification decision, you may lodge an appeal firstly with the Certification Body. Such complaints should be made in writing within 14 days.  

 

All complaints will be investigated and dealt with fairly in accordance with the Certification Body appeals procedure.

 

Following the appeals process if there is still a dispute, appeals can be made to Small Independent Cider Makers Association who will make the final decision on the appeal.

 

Prosecutions and Regulatory Sanctions

 

You must notify the Certification Body of any prosecutions brought, or likely to be brought with respect to any issues covered in the Standard, including relevant consumer protection legislation.  Notification should take place within seven days of the prosecution occurring, or enforcement investigations commencing. 

 

 

Any information received will be investigated on a case by case basis and appropriate action

taken.

 

Confidentiality

 

The outcome of any verification assessment is notified to the Small Independent Cidermakers Association who maintain a list of current approved members.

 

All information assessed and provided during the audit process and corrective action process will remain confidential between Small Independent Cidermakers Association, Kiwa and the client and will not be shared with a 3rd party without authorisation from the client with the exception of the National Accreditation Body.

 

The contents of the final copy of the verification report is made available to the business. During the Certification Body UKAS assessment the verification report may be viewed as part of the Certification Body activity audit.

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