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Canning of foods
Practical Action
In summary the canning process requires:
a considerable capital investment
the need for trained and experienced staff
regular maintenance of the sophisticated equipment
a supply of the correct type of can and
comparatively high operating expenditure.
Although it is possible to obtain small-scale canning equipment obstacles described above
are difficult and costly to overcome at the small-scale level. Additionally there is a
requirement for equipment to prepare the food before filling the cans as well as actually
filling the cans themselves. This aspect of the process has not been discussed in this brief
and such operations require considerable hygienic handling to produce safe products prior to
canning. For these reasons Practical Action does not recommend canning for small-scale
producers as a business enterprise.
References and further reading
Packaging foods in glass Technical Brief, Practical Action
Packaging materials for food Technical Brief, Practical Action
Small-scale Food Processing: A guide to appropriate equipment, Edited by Peter
Fellows & Ann Hampton, Practical Action Publishing/ CTA 1992
Appropriate Food Packaging: Materials and methods for small businesses by Peter
Fellows & Barry Axtell, Practical Action Publishing 2002
Methods of Canning Ivon E. McCarty, Professor Emeritus, and William C. Morris,
Professor. Food Science and Technology. The University of Tennessee
Low-acid Foods: Fact sheets for the small-scale food entrepreneur. Cornell University.
New York State Agricultural Experiment Station.
Packaging UNIFEM Practical Action Publishing 1996
Practical Action
The Schumacher Centre
Rugby, Warwickshire, CV23 9QZ
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1926 634400
Fax: +44 (0)1926 634401
Practical Action is a development charity with a difference. We know the simplest ideas can have the
most profound, life-changing effect on poor people across the world. For over 40 years, we have been
working closely with some of the world’s poorest people - using simple technology to fight poverty and
transform their lives for the better. We currently work in 15 countries in Africa, South Asia and Latin