Effect of post harvest quality management practices on fruit juices of small scale industries in Ghana: a case study of fruit juice producers in the Ashanti Region of Ghana
Recent negative perception of people about locally produced fruits and vegetables have made the supervisory bodies to monitor the juice producers on the hazards associated with the unconcerned attitude to hygienic processing, packaging and transport of locally produced fruit and vegetable juices. However, little attention has been given to the hygienic handling of processed fruits and vegetables at the processing companies to the final consumer. This study, thus investigated the effect of postharvest quality management practices on fruit juices of small scale industries in Ghana, sought to assess people’s perception, producers handling practices, the challenges as well as to assess the quality of the locally made fruit juice products on the market. A field survey was conducted in Tanoso, Tafo, Bremang, Ejisu, Mampong, Offinso,Obuasi and Konongo of the Ahsanti Region of Ghana. Interviews together with structured questionnaire were used in data collection of 35 employees from seven (7) pineapple and orange juice processing companies and 265 consumers randomly selected from the study areas. Laboratory work was also conducted at the Biochemistry and Biological Science laboratories (KNUST) – Kumasi, Ghana. Quality parameters assessed during the study included pH, Vitamin C, Ash, Total Titratable acidity, Total soluble solids, Total viable count, Yeast and mould and Staphylococcus aureus counts. 40% of consumers indicated that, imported fruit and vegetable juices were better than the locally made ones, 28.66% agreed that imported fruit juices were better whilst 21.01% of the consumers disagreed that imported fruit juices were better. Only a few (28.6%) of the juice producers used sodium hypochlorite to wash fruits, whilst majority (71.4%) did not wash fruits under running with sodium hypochlorite. The chi-square analysis showed that, major challenges like finance, non-existence of cold storage transport vehicles and the use of old processing equipments were significantly higher (P<0.05) within the processing companies. There were significant differences in physico-chemical and microbial parameters of juices from the companies to the markets. The levels of pH, vitamin C, TSS, TTA, Ash as well as microbial loads within the processing companies were significantly different from the codex standard. However, juice from the processing companies 1 and 5 were within the range for consumption from the codex and Ghana standards.
A thesis submitted to The Department of Horticulture, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy (Mphil Postharvest Technnology), 2016