Food Processing

foodprocessingFood processing is the transformation of raw ingredients, by physical or chemical means into food, or of food into other forms. In practices, food processing involves combining raw food ingredients to produce marketable food products that can be easily prepared and served by the consumer. In Tanzania, MSMEs can also be engaged in food processing business.

Things to consider when establishing a food processing business

  • Location of the business

When establishing a food processing business, location of the business is very essential. In most cases location is usually determined by Market and availability of raw materials. In order to reduce the extra cost that will be involved in the overall process of production, either the business should be established near the market or the place where there are locations of the raw materials.

  • Product idea

In this, you must have an idea of the product that you want to bring into the business. As an entrepreneur you must ask yourself several key questions that can assist in developing your idea into a wonderful product. These questions include

  1. What is the product?

  2. Who are your customers?

  3. Do you have competitors?

  • Food safety (Laws and regulations governing food processing)

As a food processor, making sure your food is safe is your number one priority. To prevent food safety problems you need to have a well-designed food processing facility, procedures to prevent product contamination, proper food handler hygiene and food handling practices, a sanitation program and a pest management system.

Section 28 of the Tanzania Food, Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 2003 prohibits manufacturing, selling, distribution, importation, or exposure for sale of any prepackaged food unless that food has been registered with TFDA.

  • Packaging and Labeling

Packaging is a process of loading product into a specific container. It is very essential as it protects your product from physical damage and contamination. It can also serve as a medium for advertisement, as the packaging container can contain an outlook that can influence consumer’s decision to buy.

Labeling on the other hand is the process of applying/attaching a piece of paper, polymer, cloth, metal, or other material affixed to a container or product, on which is written or printed information about the product. Requirements of labels varies from place to place, but in general, they include:product identity; weight or volume; manufacturer information; best-before date; storage instructions if applicable; and nutritional information.

TFDA has established guidelines and requirements on the labels for products. The following information shall appear on the label of packaged foods

  1. Name of the food

  2. List of ingredients

  3. Name of class (e.g. animal, vegetables e.t.c)

  4. Net contents

  5. Name and Address

  6. Country of Origin

  7. Batch/Lot identification

  8. Date Marking and Storage instructions

  9. Instructions for use

  • Insurance

Insurance is explained as an exchange for compensation between a business owner and insurance for a certain amount in a particular period of time. The main purpose of business insurance is to control or eliminate unnecessary risks. Types of insurance to consider include life and disability insurance, property insurance and liability insurance. When looking for an insurance agent, ask other food processors, friends and associates for referrals.

Challenges affecting the food processing industry

  • Inadequate knowledge on technical standards, packaging facilities, food laws and regulations

  • Quality raw material supplies

  • Weak information channels with regards to price and quality

  • Lack of infrastructure facilities in terms of facilities for testing and research.

Requirements for food-processing permits


  1. The food premises shall be located away from sites or activities that emit obnoxious material like fumes, dust, smoke, offensive trade or breeding sites for vermin.

  2. Physical and postal address of the premises where the business is to be carried out shall be clearly indicated in the application form to include plot and house numbers, street, district and region as this will facilitate easy reach during supervision and inspection.


  1. The food premises shall be designed for the intended purpose and shall have no direct link with any business or occupation that may lead to contamination of food.

  2. The premises shall be of suitable layout and constructed to facilitate easy maintenance and sanitation.

  3. The food premises and facilities installed shall have:

  1. Sufficient space for placement and storage of materials, which are necessary for sanitary operations;

  2. Adequate space, either by partition, location or other effective means for those operations, which may cause contamination of food;

  3. Sufficient lighting and ventilation to enable all operations to be carried out satisfactorily and safely;

  4. Maximum protection against rodents, birds, vermin etc.

  5. The floor, walls and ceiling of food premises shall be adequately cleanable and maintained in a clean and good state of repair.

  6. The fixtures, ducts and pipes shall not be suspended over areas where drips or condensate may contaminate food and raw materials or food contact surfaces.

  7. Aisles or working spaces between equipment and walls shall be unobstructed and of sufficient width to permit employees to perform their duties without contaminating the food or food contact surface with their clothing or personal contact.


  1. Every utensil and equipment used in food premises shall be suitable for their intended use; well designed and adequately cleanable and proper maintenance of cold chain for frozen products

  2. Every food contact surface shall be smooth and impervious, free from pits, crevices and loose scale, non-toxic; and capable of withstanding repeated cleaning disinfection and sanitization.

  3. Utensils, crockery, cutlery and other equipment coming in contact with food shall be sufficient in number to enable adequate sanitization before reuse. Single service articles shall be stored in appropriate containers and handled, dispensed, used and disposed to prevent contamination of food or food contact surfaces.


  1. Any person who owns a food business shall ensure that Persons suffering from communicable diseases shall not be involved in handling of food or food contact surfaces.

  2. Thorough medical examination for Food handlers shall be carried out prior to employment and after every six months.

  3. There shall be properly trained personnel from a recognized Institution.

  4. Medical examination records for each worker shall be kept properly and accessible for inspection. The records shall be kept and maintained for not less than two years.


  1. Storage facilities shall protect products from deterioration and the specified storage conditions shall be monitored and maintained accordingly.

  2. Controlled storage environment/facilities e.g air conditions, refrigeration for cold chain products shall be made available and monitored using suitable temperature recording devices and records reviewed and filed.

  3. All food products shall be stored off the floor in well-fitted shelves or pallets

  4. Storage facilities for grains should be monitored for humidity, temperature and pests and records should be kept properly.


  1. All food premises shall be provided with adequate and easily accessible sanitary conveniences to cater separately for both sexes, for employees and/or customers.

  2. There shall be adequate and readily available potable water supply; hot and cold running water to be used for the intended operation or use.

  3. There shall be proper system of waste disposal.

  4. There shall be provision of protective gears and occupation health facilities.

  5. Food handlers shall be clean in person and shall avoid unhygienic practices such as smoking, sneezing and coughing over food, nose picking, finger licking, talking over food etc.

  6. There shall be adequate provision for hand washing facilities with hot and cold running water, nailbrushes and disinfectant liquid soap. To avoid re-contamination of hands there shall be automatic or elbow or foot operated water tapes.

  7. Doors may be designed to open by pushing from all sides or self-operating doors to avoid contaminating food handler’s hands.


Any person who owns a food business shall make available the following documents/records:

  1. Food import permits and/or purchasing documents

  2. Sanitation and fumigation documents

  3. Ledger book or an appropriate inventory control system

  4. Visitors book

  5. Sales receipts (wholesalers)

  6. Inspection log book

  7. Medical examination records where applicable

  8. Complaints handling book

  9. Register for expired/recalled /rejected/withdrawn food products

  10. Tanzania Food, Drugs and Cosmetics (Food Hygiene) Regulation, 2011

  11. Tanzania Food, Drugs and Cosmetics (Fees and Charges) Regulation, 2011


  1. The applicant shall show capacity to prompt and effective system of traceability and recall from the market of products known or suspected to be defective or hazardous.

  2. In case of recall of product initiated by the dealer himself, the Authority shall be notified on the reason of recall.

  3. Recall operations shall be capable of being initiated promptly at least down to the level of retailers.

  4. The distribution records shall be readily available to the person(s) responsible for recalls and they shall contain sufficient information related to the product, e.g. Name of product, Manufacturer, Dates of Manufacture and Expire, and Batch Number.

  5. The disposal of recalled/rejected/withdrawn products from the market shall be effected within one month after completion of exercise. Disposal exercise shall be carried under supervision of TFDA inspectors/ Food Inspectors and representatives from other Government Institutions.