Characteristics of a Properly Laid-out Meat Processing Area
- A meat processing businesses should have a hygienically designed and easily cleaned processing area to prevent contamination of products.
- Availability of good water supply and manpower, proximity to main roads and transport facilities and nearness to markets should also be considered.
- Cleanliness of the surrounding area should be ensured. Moving air, flies, nonpotable water are potential sources of contaminants that can cause spoilage of products, hence, should be controlled, if not completely prevented
- The processing area should be sensibly laid out, following a defined flow and avoiding back or cross flow. Sensible simple machines should be initially acquired, enough to meet the demands of immediate market.
- Within the building, food should move between different stages in a process without the paths crossing. This reduces the risk of contaminating finished products by incoming raw meat as well as reducing the likelihood of accidents or of operators getting in each other’s way. Efficient cold storage facilities or freezer is a requirement in meat processing. These are used to store raw meat and processed meat. There should be enough space for separate storage of raw materials, away from ingredients, packaging materials and finished products.
The processing area should have provisions for the following:
Reception of raw material. This is an area for temporary storage of raw materials prior to processing. Conditions such as temperature, humidity, cleanliness, exposure to insects must be taken into account. Incoming materials and finished product should be on opposite ends of the facility and separated by walls or air curtains when possible.
Preparation area. Activities in the preparation area normally include trimming slicing, chopping, blending and mixing of ingredients. The preparation area should be given the most consideration for food hygiene and sanitation.
Curing area. This is where curing or marinating takes place. This requires chilling or refrigerated temperature to allow absorption of curing solution to take place.
Packaging and labeling area. The meat packaging area should always be adjacent or near the processing area. Least contamination must be observed in this area.
Storage area. A clean and efficient cold storage area separate from the rest of the processing unit is required.
Other provisions. Perishable raw materials should be kept separate from nonperishable raw materials. Packaging materials should be separately stored and there should be some form of divided office area. Toilets should be housed in a separate building. In larger food processing firms, rest area for production staff must be provided.
This article was written by my teacher and boss, Ms. Fe N. Dimero. Thanks to her!