Food safety is an essential consideration when breadfruit is prepared for others to eat; every effort must be made to ensure that the food is safe for human consumption. It is crucial therefore, that basic food handling techniques are observed. Appendix 2 contains the explanation and techniques that should be used in food preparation.
What are the essential food safety conditions for processing?
In order to carry out these handling procedures it is necessary to have access to a dedicated food production facility. A stand-alone processing facility is preferable but if such a facility is not possible then it is possible to modify/upgrade an existing kitchen or village hall (Fig. 15). However, it must only be used by people who have undergone food processing training and it must be proofed against insects, birds, cockroaches, pets, rats and mice. Local health officials will require that minimum standards are observed but produce from breadfruit is rarely high risk. Most health authorities are supportive of new businesses and will work with entrepreneurs to ensure compliance with regulations.
Figure 15: Small Scale Processing Facility, Rabi Island, Fiji
The following conditions are necessary for establishing a long-term food processing facility such that at all times food safety and suitability is a priority. Where new premises are proposed, facilities must be located, designed and constructed to ensure that:
- Two self-closing doors exist between the toilet and the food handling area.
- Surfaces of walls, partitions and floors are made of impervious materials with no toxic effect in intended use;
- Walls and partitions have a smooth surface up to a height appropriate to the operation;
- Junctions at walls and floors are covered with inert material with a diameter of 0.6 cm – melamine is commonly used.
- Floors are constructed to allow adequate drainage and cleaning and there should be no pooling of water;
- Ceilings and overhead fixtures are constructed and finished to minimize the buildup of dirt and condensation, and the shedding of particles and all electrical fittings are water-proof so that the entire premises can be hosed;
- Windows are easy to clean and constructed to minimize the buildup of dirt and where necessary, are fitted with removable and cleanable insect-proof screens. Where necessary, windows must be fixed;
- Doors have smooth, non-absorbent surfaces, and are easy to clean and, where necessary, disinfect;
- Working surfaces that come into direct contact with food are in sound condition, durable and easy to clean, maintain and disinfect. They must be made of smooth, non-absorbent materials, and inert to the food, to detergents and disinfectants under normal operating conditions.
- Design and layout permit appropriate maintenance, cleaning and disinfections and minimize air-borne contamination;
- Surfaces and materials, in particular those in contact with food, are non-toxic in intended use and, where necessary, suitably durable, and easy to maintain and clean;
- There is effective protection against dust, fumes and smoke.