The cold chain is the constant temperature control at all stages of a food product, from production to consumption, keeping it in the same temperature range and ensuring, thus, its good condition. It is called "chain" because it is made up of different stages, and if some are compromised, it could result in damage to the quality and safety of the product.
Cases of health damage due to the cold chain breaking up are increasing in developed countries, according to World Health Organization, in up to 30% per year.
Low temperatures not only ensure the organoleptic characteristics of food (texture, flavor, odor, color), but also stop reproduction of microorganisms and delay the loss of food quality. However, we must not forget that the cold does not kill microorganisms or stop the metabolic activity of its components, only slows their growth and food spoilage.
Each food or food product requires a constant temperature, either ambient, refrigerated or frozen. To do this, that temperature should be ensured since the food is prepared, in distribution, transportation and conservation in homes. Breaking the cold chain causes the loss of health conditions of the product and the proliferation of pathogenic microorganisms.
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Guidelines have been released for the proper treatment of frozen products at all stages of the logistics chain.
From the publication "Recommendations for Logistics Frozen Products, Frozen and Ice Cream, AECOC"
Technical as well as sanitary controls for food and food products that typically require freezing temperatures for preservation and alteration must be extended to the operations of the entire supply chain so that from the origin to the final time of consumption the product keeps its inherent qualities.
There are no situations where there is room for improvisation and, although the limits vary in flexibility, logistics applied to cold chains leave no room for error.
The complexity of cold chain logistics
It's not news that one of the determining factors in logistical planning is based on the profile of the goods: dangerous, general or perishable.
A standard for quality indicators in cold chains describes the quality management system of an organization that wants to demonstrate its ability to continuously supply high quality cold chain services.
CCQI, the Cold Chain Quality Indicator, is a benchmarking system that accesses the logistics capacity of a cold chain in order to maintain a certain temperature during transportation and handling of perishable temperature sensitive products (PTSP).
Most of the loads of red meat cuts are prepared according to the preferences of the country or customer.
Generalities applicable to all frozen food:
Freezing is a very widespread way to preserve food products and it is common to move them using refrigerated transports. The load is placed in a state of suspended animation, allowing for it to be used weeks or even months after production.