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.
As many food processing operations involve heating, good ventilation is essential. A comfortable
Practical Action, The Schumacher Centre, Bourton on Dunsmore, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV23 9QZ, UK
T +44 (0)1926 634400 | F +44 (0)1926 634401 | E email@example.com | W www.practicalaction.org
Practical Action is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee.
Company Reg. No. 871954, England | Reg. Charity No.247257 | VAT No. 880 9924 76 |
Patron HRH The Prince of Wales, KG, KT, GCB