• OTA - prevention during production, harvesting and processing




    Work being done by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN - FAO indicates that under certain conditions some coffee may become contaminated with OTA whilst still on the tree. Guidelines are therefore being developed that aim at minimizing any spore load from OTA-producing fungi in the plantation itself. Once these guidelines have been finalized further information will be made available at www.coffee-ota.org.

    Harvesting and processing

    • Cover the soil below the trees with clean plastic during picking to prevent cherries coming into contact with dirt or soil, or getting mixed with old, mouldy cherries left behind from previous picking rounds or the previous season.
    • Do not use cherries that have been in contact with bare earth - they are susceptible to developing mould growth.
    • Process fresh cherry as soon as possible: either pulp them or commence drying on the day they are picked. Do not store fresh cherry, especially if fully ripe or overripe, as such storage promotes mould growth; do not hold cherry in bags.
    • Never dry on bare earth, because mould spores remain in the soil and can contaminate cherry. Use mats, trays or tarpaulins. Raised drying tables, allowing air circulation, remain one of the most effective drying systems though.
    • During the first two to three days of drying ensure the layer is as thin as possible to speed the process. After this, the layer of drying cherry should not be more than 4 cm (1½ in) thick. Drying cherry should constantly be raked and turned, and should be covered at night and during rainfall.
    • Never allow partly or wholly dried cherry to get wet again: protect it at all times against rain, morning dew and accidental wetting.
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