Refrigeration and cold chain are inter-linked and directly related, whereby refrigeration plays an important and vital role in the food industry as a whole, especially keeping in mind the relevant issues such as food safety, food hygiene, health and environment as well.
Refrigeration is a part of cold chain and pivotal to food industry, so to say, is part of “Farm to Table” phenomena and is very much necessary for storage, preservation, transportation and distribution of frozen, chilled or food grade materials with ambient temperature, which is also a must in order to control and avoid decomposition, decay and contamination right from the time of produce, storage, transportation, distribution and consumption, as it is directly related to health whereby, it is directly linked to one of the most important aspects of food safety and food hygiene, which is paramount.
The possibility of storing various foods or food related materials depends on the requirement of specified temperatures. If stored under normal internal room temperature conditions without refrigeration; based on the external temperatures, food produce would begin to decompose and decay, depending on the nature of product in question, and its shelf- life would potentially be lost and wasted. Moreover, if not properly stored under the required conditions & temperatures; with the rise in temperature within the storage area, the product, if used for human consumption will cause food poisoning or will have an adverse effect and significant influence on health related issues such as salmonella and so on, which will lead to severe health hazards, so to say, the necessity of cold chain in the food industry is as much necessary for health, as is the refrigeration.
Hence, without proper refrigeration system in place, abundance in production during the time of harvest and processing of foods, and if not stored under required temperature conditions, would render the produce unfit for distribution and human consumption and will end up being dumped in the wastage bins or garbage dumps. This generally happens in the developing or under developed countries where the food wastage and losses are huge, in the absence of required infrastructure such as, temperature controlled warehouses and cold storages with frozen and chilled temperatures systems for meat products, dairy products and fresh vegetables and fruits respectively, complimented and supported by Refrigerated Transport Systems and Structured Logistical Systems in place. Refrigeration and controlled temperatures are a must for food processing companies, such as tinning & canning Industries involved in processing of vegetables, juices, pulps, meat and fishing industry.
Refrigeration is widely applicable and used in food supply chain such as packaging, processing, storage, transportation, waste management, distribution of perishable products that requires further refrigeration during storage and transportation to prevent deterioration of product quality and losses. Hence, the extensive use of refrigerated cold rooms and refrigerated transport systems is widely used in the cold chain and food chain supply industry, where refrigeration plays a pivotal role.
Refrigeration technology has an important role to play in the cold chain and food industry. The technology needs catering to longer shelf-life of the farm fresh dairy products and fresh agricultural products which requires constant specified temperature conditions to be maintained, from time of storage of goods and until the products are transported and delivered to their final destinations.
Refrigeration in the cold chain, food storage, warehousing, supply & distribution industry and most importantly, in the refrigerated transport industry, plays a very significant and an important role in the cold chain industry, in reducing losses of especially perishable foods. Basically, the foods such as fresh vegetables & dairy products from farms are temperature sensitive and are perishable; hence require refrigeration in order to extend their shelf-life and to reduce the risk of food borne Illnesses & diseases, especially in fresh green leafy vegetables. Cold storage is the way forward, wherein refrigeration is a part of it, for safe storage and distribution thereafter, which is also an important means for prevention methodology used to avoid losses and wastage of various food items, for which refrigeration by way of specified and controlled temperatures is a prerequisite.
Conclusively, refrigeration is necessary in order to prevent the formation of mildew, growth of fungus and microbes. It helps extend especially the shelf-life of farm fresh vegetables and fruits, dairy product, poultry and meat products. At the same time, it helps maintain freshness and quality as well.
Consultant, Cold Chain,
Food Distribution and Supply Chain
Transportation Equipment & Refrigeration Systems.