FOOD PROCESSING BUILDING
While it is obviously very nice to have a brand new building to house any food production unit,
this is of course not always possible. The following notes are therefore intended as a guide for
those either starting-up from the beginning or converting an existing structure.
Walls and general internal finish
All internal walls should be, at least, smooth plastered in production areas to allow for thorough
cleaning. Ledges and rough finishes must be avoided as dust will accumulate and they are
very difficult to clean. If money permits, glazed tiling on the walls to a level of some 4 feet is
highly recommended. If this proves impossible, selected areas should be ceramic tiled (for
example behind sinks or where machinery will cause considerable product splashing).
Attention should be given to preventing the access of birds, rodents and flying insects through
gaps in the roof structure and in particular where the roof joins the wall. In tropical climates,
overhanging roofs that keep the direct sunlight from the building walls will make life for the
workers more comfortable.
Most food processing operations involve wet processes so it is obviously very important to
make sure that the floor is made of good quality concrete which slopes to a central drainage
channel. This means that at the end of the day the whole floor area can be hosed down and
drained naturally to a central point. The drainage channel should be fitted with a heavy iron
grating that can be easily removed for internal cleaning of the drain. The point where the drain
exits from the building may require special attention, as an open drain at this point provides a
corridor for rats and mice to enter the structure. Wire mesh should be fixed over the end of any
drain opening of this type. The joint between the sloped production floor and the walls is
another area that needs attention. A right angle join provides an excellent point for dirt to lodge
and the cement floor screed should therefore be curved to meet the wall surface.
Good lighting for general work is provided by fluorescent tubes but it should be remembered
that if machinery with fast moving exposed parts, such as mills, are being used it is important
to also have normal incandescent lighting for safety reasons. This is because under certain
circumstances a rotating part of a machine can appear to be standing still if its velocity
matches the number of cycles of the mains electricity running a fluorescent tube.
In view of the fact that the plant is liable to be hosed down, all electric points should be placed
at high level. Ideally waterproof outlets should be used but in many cases due to their high
cost this will not prove possible.
An adequate supply of clean, potable water from taps around the production area is obviously
essential. Unless great reliance can be placed upon the mains supply, a high level, water
storage tank would prove extremely useful. In some situations the mains water can be
somewhat cloudy at times. In such cases it is worth having either two water tanks or a large
tank internally divided so that one half is allowed to settle while the other is being used.