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July 25, 2016

Why is The Cold Chain So Important in the Food Industry?

As suppliers of bulk PVC roll, we offer many different variations of PVC strip curtains to fulfil the varied needs of our customers. We work a lot with companies in the food industry and they all say that our polar grade freezer curtains are in demand as a means of assisting with their cold chain.

The term cold chain refers to a temperature-controlled supply chain which means that it is an uninterrupted series of distribution and storage activities which take place in a temperature controlled environment. A cold chain is used to prolong the life of fresh products such as fruit & vegetables, frozen food, and seafood. These goods are perishable and have to be moved to their end destination while being kept at a constant temperature.

Food processing

Cold chains are often used in food and pharmaceutical industries, and the average temperature range is 2-8c, but the specific temperature and tolerances used will obviously depend on the exact item being shipped and stored. When the cargo is fresh, the cold chain must also maintain additional environment parameters, such as the air quality, which makes it very complicated to operate.

A cold chain can therefore only work when it is subject to a quality management system that is analysed, controlled, documented, measured and validated. The use of refrigerator trucks, reefer ships, and refrigerated warehouses is common place within the cold chain, as are our walk in cooler curtains. Some firms also chose to ship items in specialised packaging such as insulated shipping containers for extra protection. Recent technological advances mean that items such as temperature data loggers and radio frequency identification tags are now used to monitor the temperature history of a truck or warehouse and the product being shipped. The data collected from such tools enables contractors to establish the remaining shelf life of a product at all stages of its journey.

It is really important for food items to be kept cold, as unrefrigerated foods can become overrun with bacteria, which can very quickly turn into toxins and cause illness when digested. Foodborne illnesses can be very serious - last year in the UK alone there were over 500,000 reported cases. Food can make people ill even when it doesn't look, smell or taste off - the bacteria that cause us to be ill are different than the spoilage bacteria that makes food go off. These pathogenic organisms are often found in food such as raw meat, seafood, milk and eggs and keeping these foods properly chilled will slow the growth of such bacteria.

As you can see the cold chain is very important in the food industry. If you work in the food industry and would like more information about our bulk PVC roll, please call us on 0333 999 7171 or drop us an email at