Headwater FPE CiderSure


Dr. Worobo, Cornell U. Department of Food Science, March 1998

Dr. Worobo, Cornell U. Department of Food Science, March 1998

Geneva, NY - When Station microbiologist and food safety expert Randy Worobo unveiled a new, low-cost alternative to thermal pasteurization before 150 apple growers and cider producers at the New York Sate Horticultural Society's meeting in Rochester in early January, he did not realize the amount of interest it would generate.

At the meeting, Worobo identified ultraviolet light as a possible answer to E. coli 0157:H7 contamination of fresh cider and fruit juices. Since then, he has been inundated with requests for information and now has been an invited speaker at several meetings.

"The new design for a UV pastuerization unit should be perfect for small cider producers," according to Worobo, and has shown very promising results in preliminary testing. It is about one-quarter of the price of a thermal pastuerization unit, small, economical to run, and very user-friendly.

In the new process unveiled at the meeting, a thin film of cider was pumped past UV light at the rate of about 3 gallons per minute. Tests have shown that this particular design reduced E. coli 0157:H7 contamination from 100,000 microorganisms per ml to 1 organism per ml in a single pass. At the time, Worobo was hopeful that tests would prove effective against other pathogens as well.

Since its introduction in January, Worobo and the two engineers who developed the unit, Patrick Borrelli and Phil Harman, have made some modifications, streamlined the process, and come up with a new machine (photo available). Borrelli and Harman are from Rochester-based FPE, Inc.



FPE (Food Processing Equipment, Inc.) was founded in 1998 by Phil Hartman.  Phil was a true engineer at heart, who identified a need for an alternative to heat pasteurization for the apple cider industry when Federal standards for purification were being mandated throughout the US.  His engineering background enabled him to apply ultraviolet technology he had worked on in the semiconductor manufacturing industry to the CiderSure product line.  He employed many of his nephews and nieces as the CiderSure business grew.    

Phil was very passionate about everything he did. His infectious smile and friendly demeanor enabled him to develop memorable and close working relationships with his customers.  Often times, he would drive hundreds of miles to visit a customers to remedy a problem they were having.  I have heard many stories from our customers about these visits, which usually included providing Phil with his favorite home baked pie or cookies.  

Phil was left paralyzed from the waist down as a result of injuries he incurred in a car accident shortly after his high school graduation.  This never seemed to slow him down or dampen his spirit.  He continued to pursue his passions in life which included down hill skiing, scuba diving, white water canoeing and flying his own airplane.  What Phil enjoyed most of all was spending time with family and friends.  Phil passed away in June of 2010.  He is greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. Thank you Phil for all the great memories.