COLD-CHAIN AND TRACKING

THE COLD-CHAIN


What exactly is the Cold-Chain? It keeps foodstuffs below a certain temperature during all phases, from the producer/manufacturer right along to the end consumer. There is some flexibility, of course, but certain minimum temperatures must be guaranteed at all times.

During the preparation and sale of frozen and/or refrigerated food items, the refrigeration temperature must comply with strict guidelines and must be observed at all times: i.e. ≤ +4°C (for fresh products) or ≤ -18°C (for frozen foods); those values apply throughout the entire distribution process, including when they are placed in storage areas and refrigerated display units.

It is fundamental that refrigerated or frozen foods be transported from one place to another without any interruption in the cold-chain, particularly as far as delivery vehicles, point of sale refrigerated storage cells and sales display units are concerned. Food products that are exposed to the atmosphere, particularly if exposed to average room temperature, will sooner or later suffer the effects of alteration in their organoleptic properties; flavour, colour, aroma and consistency will be adversely affected.

Food that is not adequately protected can cause illness and disease. The digestive system is frequently the worse affected. To avoid outcomes of that nature, and to prolong the life of the products themselves, they must be preserved appropriately. “Preservation” can be defined as a series of techniques put into effect to preserve the original quality of the food item in question and inhibit degeneration, whilst ensuring the highest standards of safety and hygiene be maintained.
Food alteration, or degeneration, can be caused by any of the following potential hazards:

a) light and heat

b) enzymes that can spark degeneration of cell structures (leading to changes in consistency, softening, shrivelling and the creation of bad odours and poor flavour)

c) micro-organisms, some of which can become pathogenic and lead to food poisoning

Suitable temperature control is fundamental in maintaining the original qualities of perishable food items.

Blueline® technology is an essential tool in ensuring the consumer receives a wide range of fresh food

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