Chapter 11 Fruit and vegetable processing units - general approach; preliminary study; how to invest, install and operate a processing centre; modular units: from farm/family to community/business level

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11.1 Preliminary study

Each new fruit and vegetable processing centre needs a good, specific preliminary study including, among other considerations, the following aspects:

  1. Raw material availability;
  2. Raw material quality in adequate varieties for the types of finished products that will be manufactured;
  3. Harvesting and transport practices and organisation from the field to the processing centre;
  4. Processing capacity related to raw material availability: quantities, seasonability, etc.
  5. Processing equipment size/capacity suitable for above points;
  6. Availability of trained operators and resources to improve their knowledge;
  7. Availability of workforce in the area and resources for training them in order to be able to assure adequate trained operators;
  8. Availability of utilities: electricity, etc.
  9. Position of the future processing centre as related to raw material fields and to closest transportation means; road access, railway access.
  10. Last but not least, market availability for finished products and for optional semi-processed products.

The decision to invest in fruit and vegetable equipment MUST be taken case by case and only after an adequate, specific preliminary study has been carried out by specialists or a specialist organisation.

11.2 How to prepare, start and operate a fruit and vegetable processing centre

Additional recommendations and "hints" to prepare, start and operate a fruit and vegetable processing centre are as follows:

  1. Assure a raw material temporary storage capacity/ surface for 2-5 processing days. Invest in an adequate size cold room for sensible raw materials;
  2. Plan the equipment to operate at the start-up for at least one working shift (about 7-9 hours) per day, for 5 working days per week; when needed, a second shift could be organized;
  3. Plan to operate the processing centre for a maximum number of working days per year). In order to achieve this, invest in the buildings and equipment which will be able to:
  1. Whenever possible, "rush" the utilisation of available raw materials during crop season by additional manufacturing of semi-processed products and transform these in consumer finished products during the off-season.
  2. Excessive automatization of processing equipment DOES NOT directly imply a good quality of finished product;
  3. Raw material quality is a major element with positive impact on finished product quality;
  4. Initial and continuous personnel training and motivation is also an important factor in the success or failure of a processing centre and in assuring a constant finished product quality;
  5. Keep finished product stocks at a minimum adequate level;
  6. Remember that the three main "outputs" of the processing centre have to be prioritized in the following order:

Priority 1: Finished product quality conforms to specifications and standards: national and/or international, consumer special requests, etc.

Priority 2: Continuous and reliable supply of finished products to the domestic and export markets throughout the year (or at least throughout the "marketing season" of specific products);

Priority 3: Manufacturing and transport costs as low as possible, inside the stringent need to cover the first two priorities;

j) When deciding on the equipment output, take into consideration all elements specified and mainly raw material availability and market demand for a specific finished product;

k) Invest in simple, modular processing lines which can, with some simple on-site configuration modifications, process various types of finished products; this is mainly important for the first technological steps (preparation of raw materials, etc);

l) Plan to use as much as possible of the raw materials supplied / received to the processing centre.

This should be facilitated by the initial design and by a good day-to-day organisation and management; all these should enable, if necessary, to make a different use of each "quality" or grade of raw materials, e. g. using them for different finished products: one quality for drying/dehydration, an other quality for juices, etc.

m) Take into account the fact that the marketability of finished products will be differ in terms of types and quality for domestic and export markets.

Be sure that an export specialized staff/organisation will help with specific export advice. To export successfully is a different job to processing fruit and vegetables.

n) Avoid investing in one "big" processing line, very sophisticated in terms of automation, etc. with a high output capacity but having potential following drawbacks: being able to "generate" / produce only one finished product type from only one raw material; having too high a degree of equipment fixation work for installation and therefore very high difficulties in using the processing equipment in a modular " interchangeable " way.

o) As an initial investment prefer small size processing lines, with modular equipment arrangement (i.e. able to be integrated in various technological configurations for processing of as many raw materials as possible and generating different finished products).

p) As compared with important processing units in developed countries, it is possible to formulate as a very general rule for developing countries, that for the usual size of equipment, for a comparable environment frame, the scale / size should be approximatively 1:10 from those actually in use in developed countries.

11.3 Fruit and vegetable processing centre - module "level 5" family level

a) Buildings

i. Covered area for temporary storage of raw materials and washing; surface = 10 sq. m.

ii. Room for wet processing (cutting, dipping, boiling, water blanching, pasteurization, etc.) = 25 sq. m.

iii. Room for dry processing = 25 sq. m. iv. Room for storage of processed products = 10 sq. m.

Area (i) is simply covered; area (ii) could be similar to a simple house kitchen; areas (iii) and (iv) could be similar to house rooms.

b) Outside drying yard

This area is needed in order to install: simple sun drying trays; tent sun dryer; cabinet sun dryer.

At best, this area have to be cemented to avoid excessive dust generation.

A minimum surface of 50 sq. m. is necessary.

c) Equipment and material

Working tables (2)

Improved stoves (3)

Stainless steel pots 51(2)

Stainless steel pots 101(2)

Stainless steel pots 151(1)

Stainless steel knives, 12-15 cm blade (10)

Stainless steel spoons, various shapes and sizes (5)

Stainless steel household sieves (3)

Wooden spoons (5)

Glass jars, various sizes and screw-on caps (200)

Aluminium pots: 251(1); 401(2);

Hand-operated pulp extractor

Bottle brushes (10)

Plastic lemon-squeezer

Stainless steel skimmer

Aluminium ladle

Sun dryer (tent type)

Sun dryer (cabinet type)

Standard wood sun drying trays (20)

Bottles (0.33 1)

Crown tops

Jars (0.300 1)

Screw-tops for jars

Wood (or other available fuel) heating plates

Hand-operated capping device (capper)

Work bench (3)

Stainless steel vegetable cutter (5)

d) Simple technological recommendations

i. Ingredients

- Sugar and potassium metabisulphite (K2S2O5) are used as preservatives;

- Lemon or lime juice is added to the products to rectify the acidity (this improves storage stability and taste).

ii. Hygiene measures

- The workers should carefully wash their hands before any product processing operations;

- The utensils and equipment will have to be properly cleaned before and after use, in order to remove dust and any possible organic particle;

- The packaging materials, i. e. bottles and jars, have to be washed with a hand-operated appliance, hot clean water and sand. After washing, rinsing with clean water will be carried out;

- Damaged parts of the fresh raw materials, as well as waste, will have to be discharged and disposed outside of the working area;

- Before storage, the finished products will be washed and dried (this apply for jars and bottles) and properly labelled;

- The preparation and drying areas must NOT be located in the vicinity of a stock-farm.

11.4 Fruit and vegetable processing unit - module "level 4" farm and/or community level

a) Buildings

i. Covered platform for temporary storage of raw materials and washing; surface = 25 sq. m.

ii. Room for wet processing (cutting, dipping, boiling, water blanching, pasteurization, etc.) = 40 sq. m.

iii. Room for dry processing = 40 sq. m.

iv. Storage room for processed products = 20 sq. m.

All areas need to be on a cemented platform.

Area (i) is simply covered and surrounded by plastic sheeting to avoid dust contamination.

b) Outside drying yard

This area is needed in order to install various dryers: simple sun drying trays; tent sun dryer; cabinet sun dryer; cabinet solar dryer with heat collector, etc.

Ideally, this area should be cemented to avoid excessive dust generation.

A minimum surface of 70 sq. m. is necessary.

Access to the drying yard must be closed to non-production personnel.

It is useful to construct some surface for shade drying from the beginning; this surface could be also be used in order to protect, if needed, drying trays in case of rain.

c) Equipment and material

Working tables (3)

Scales: 0-50 kg, precision 1 kg

Hand refractometer 0-90 Brix (2)

Thermometers 10-100 C (5)

Improved stoves (3)

Stainless steel pots 51(2)

Stainless steel pots 101(2)

Stainless steel pots 151(3)

Stainless steel knives, 12-15 cm blade (10)

Stainless steel spoons, various shapes and sizes (5)

Stainless steel household sieves (3)

Wooden spoons (5)

Rigid plastic funnels, large bottom (10)

Glass jars, various sizes and screw-on caps (500)

Aluminium pots: 251(1); 401(2); 501(3)

Hand-operated pulp extractor

Electrical pulp extractor

Bottle brushes (10)

Plastic lemon-squeezer

Plastic colanders

Stainless steel skimmer

Aluminium ladle

Sun dryers (tent type)

Sun dryers (cabinet type)

Solar dryers (cabinet type) with heat collector

Standard wood sun/solar drying trays (30)

Bottles (0.5 1)

Bottles (0.33 1)

Crown tops

Jars (0.580 1)

Jars (0.300 1)

Screw-tops for jars

Electrical heating plates

Gas-fired heating plates and/or available fuel heating plates (wood, etc.)

Hand-operated capping device (capper)

Rigid plastic drums 501(5)

Work benches (3)

Stainless steel vegetable cutter (5)

d) Simple technological recommendations

i. Ingredients

- Sugar and potassium metabisulphite (K2S2O5) are used as preservatives;

- Lemon or lime juice are added to the products to rectify the acidity (this improves storage stability and taste).

ii. Hygiene measures

- The workers should carefully wash their hands before any product processing operations;

- The utensils and equipment will have to be properly cleaned before and after use, in order to remove dust and any possible organic particle;

- The packaging materials, i. e. bottles and jars, have to be washed with a hand-operated appliance, hot clean water and sand. After washing, a rinse with clean water will be carried out;

- Damaged parts of the fresh raw materials, as well as the waste, will have to be discharged and disposed of outside of the working area;

- Before storage, the finished products will be washed and dried (this apply to jars and bottles) and properly labelled;

- The preparation and drying areas must NOT be located in the vicinity of a stock-farm.

11.5 Fruit and vegetable processing unit - module "level 3" community and / or entrepreneurial level

a) Buildings

i. Covered platform for temporary storage of raw materials and washing; surface = 50 sq. m.

ii. Workshop for wet processing (cutting, dipping, boiling, water blanching, pasteurization, etc.) = 70 sq. m.

iii. Workshop for dry processing = 70 sq. m.

iv. Storage room for finished products = 30 sq. m.

v. Room for simple Quality Control checks = 15 sq. m.

All areas need to be on a cemented platform.

Area (i) is simply covered and surrounded by plastic sheets in order to avoid dust contamination.

 

b) Outside drying yard

This area is needed in order to install various dryers: simple sun drying trays; tent sun dryer; cabinet sun dryer; cabinet solar dryer with heat collector, etc.

Ideally, this area should be cemented to avoid excessive dust generation.

An approximate surface of 100 sq. m. is necessary.

Access to the drying yard must be closed to non-production personnel.

It is useful to build some surface for shade drying from the beginning; this surface could be used also in order to protect drying trays with products in case of rain. Drums/receptacles with vegetables could be stored here during first step of lactic fermentation (preservation by natural acidification).

c) Equipment and material

Working tables (5)

Scales: 0-50 kg, precision 0.1 kg

Scales: 0-3 kg, precision 1 g

Hand refractometer 0-900 Brix (2)

Thermometers 10-100 C (10)

Screen pulper-finisher; capacity 50 kg/in sieves: 0.015 in; 0.030 in; 0.045 in.

Improved stoves (5)

Stainless steel pots 5 1(3)

Stainless steel pots 10 1(3)

Stainless steel pots 15 1(3)

Medium size SO2 generator

Electrical heated ventilated oven, cap. 30 1

Small cool / cold room: volume = 20 m; temperature = +4 C to + 15 C

Stainless steel knives, 12-15 cm blade (15)

Stainless steel spoons, various shapes and sizes (10)

Stainless steel household sieves (5)

Wooded spoons (5)

Rigid plastic funnels, large bottom (10)

Glass jars, various sizes and screw-on caps (500)

Aluminium pots: 251(3); 401(3); 501(5)

Hand-operated pulp extractor

Electrical pulp extractor

Bottle brushes (25)

Plastic lemon-squeezer

Plastic colanders

Stainless steel skimmer

Aluminium ladle

Sun dryers (tent type)

Sun dryers (cabinet type)

Solar dryers (cabinet type) with heat collector

Stainless steel drying trays (15) - for fruit leather

Standard wood sun/solar drying trays (45)

Bottles (0.5 1) Bottles (0.33 1)

Crown tops

Jars (0.580 1) Jars (0.300 1)

Screw-tops for jars

Electrical heating plates

Gas fired heating places

Hand-operated capping device (capper)

Rigid plastic drums 501(5)

Work benches (5)

Stainless steel vegetable cutter (5)

d) Simple technological recommendations

i. Ingredients

- Sugar and potassium metabisulphite (K2S2O5) are used as preservatives;

- Lemon or lime juice are added to the products to rectify the acidity (this improves storage stability and taste).

ii. Hygiene measures

- The workers should carefully wash their hands before any product processing operations;

- The utensils and equipment will have to be properly cleaned before and after use, in order to remove dust and any possible organic particle;

- The packaging materials, i. e. bottles and jars, have to be washed with a hand-operated appliance, hot clean water and sand. After washing, a rinse with clean water will be carried out;

- Damaged parts of the fresh raw materials, as well as waste, will have to be discharged and disposed of outside of the working area;

- Before storage, the finished products will be washed and dried (this applies to jars and bottles) and properly labelled;

- The preparation and drying areas must NOT be located in the vicinity of a stock-farm.

11.6 Fruit and vegetable processing unit - module "level 2" business level

a) Buildings

i. Covered platform for temporary storage of raw materials and washing; surface = 100 sq. m.

ii. Workshop for wet processing (cutting, dipping, boiling, water blanching, pasteurization, etc.) = 100 sq. m.

iii. Workshop for dry processing = 100 sq. m.

iv. Storage room for finished products = 70 sq. m.

v. Quality Control Laboratory = 25 sq. m.

All areas need to be on a cemented platform; recommendations about processing workshops and all points related to buildings, equipment, etc. as presented in section 10.2 of this document (Good Manufacturing Practices - GMP - and Hygiene Requirements) must be integrated in the design and respected during construction, installation and operation.

Area (i) is covered and surrounded by plastic sheets to avoid dust contamination. Areas (ii), (iii), (iv) and (v) should conform to the quality standards described in section 10.2.

b) Outside drying yard

This area is needed in order to install:

i. various dryers: simple sun drying trays; tent sun dryer; cabinet sun dryer; cabinet solar dryer with heat collector;

ii. SO2 generator; sulphuring cells.

This area should be cemented to avoid excessive dust generation. A approximate surface of 150 to 200 sq. m. is necessary.

Access to the drying yard must be closed to non-production personnel.

It is useful to build some surface for shade drying from the beginning; this surface could be used also in order to protect drying trays with products in case of rain. Drums/receptacles with vegetables could be stored here during first step of lactic fermentation (preservation by natural acidification).

c) Equipment and material

i) Equipment for small size operations, trials, etc. similar to module "level 3".

ii) Equipment for raw material preparation before processing

Washing machine - dip washer A 106 with exit elevator out of tank.

Peeler with abrasive action A 302 B

Peeler for special products (with holes and knives) A 302 KS

Cutting machines - two models

iii) Equipment for preparation of pulp/juice extraction

Continuous simple crusher A 502 V

Horizontal pulper A 602

Turbo refiner A 605

Continuous extractor A 810

iv) Equipment for blanching/cooking/concentration/ evaporation

Cooking kettle - adapted to available heating source in the centre: gas direct or indirect heating (B 201); steam jacketed pans (B 202); electrical heating (oil jacketed) (B 2010). At least 3 cooking kettles (70-901; 100-1201 and 150-2001 capacity) are needed.

Continuous water blencher rotating drum model for vegetables B 204

Vacuum cooker B 2030

Large stainless steel tank for cooling after blanching

Steam generator

Double bottom tanks for scalding / blanching

v. Equipment for pasteurization, including preparation (deaeration, etc)

De-aerator for pulps, juices, etc.

Multitubular cooker - pasteurizer for pulps, juices, concentrates, etc.

Horizontal steriliser

Steam heated processing retort 120 l, model D 200 (or gas heated processing retort 120 l, model D100)

vi. Equipment for drying / dehydration

Cabinet dryers (5) - electrical / steam / fuel heated according to source of energy available in the processing centre

Medium size SO2 generator

Sulphuring cells (3)

Small size tunnel dryer vii. Filling machines

Pouch filler model E 104 for all liquid and paste products, dosing capacity: between 0.5 and 25 kg

Semi-automatic pneumatic closer model E 101 for all kinds of liquids, semi-liquids, pasty products and mixed products (with pieces)

viii. Seaming and capping machines

Seamer model V 10 C 502

Semi-automatic capping machine model C 604 for twist off, screw type, crown type

Relief marker for lids model C 701

ix. Miscellaneous equipments: mobile product wagons; storage tanks; mixing tanks; rotating mixer for mixed vegetables.

x. Medium size cool / cold room; volume = 30-40 m; temperature = + 2 to + 15 C.

xi. Laboratory equipment:

laboratory refractometer model ABBE F 1602;

thermobalance model F 1604;

laboratory retort model F 2500 (autoclave);

processing control oven (60 C) model F 1200;

pocket model pH meter F 1701;

laboratory model pH meter F 1703.

penetrometer;

microscope;

incubation oven;

analytical balance;

miscellaneous equipment & supplies: inoculation tubes, Petri dishes, Colony Counter, beakers, pipettes, etc.

xii. Control equipment:

can seaming checking display (on base and hand models);

reflexiometer model F 1603 for dense products;

jars vacuum detector with measure of cap deflexion;

various thermometers; various manometers: can vacuum indicator;

vacuum and pressure; standard);

hand model refractometers model F 1601 for juices, concentrates, jams, etc.


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