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If you’re new to the cold storage business, then you probably have a lot of questions or concerns about it. How best can I store different products? What temperature range is adequate for these items? Where should these products be placed in the cold room? How do I work within my budget to ensure I get the best value for money? Not to worry, this article aims to answer these questions and more, so read on!

What is Cold Storage?

Cold storage describes the process where certain food items are stored at low temperatures. These low temperatures are necessary to preserve food, especially those with long shelf life requirements. The degree you store these foods is vital in maintaining their quality. 

According to the temperature required to preserve the perishables, cold storage typically falls into two categories:

  • Cooled or positive storage, with a controlled temperature range of 0 to 10 °C; and 
  • Negative storage, with a temperature range of -30 to 0 °C. 

Today, different cold storage facilities are available- chillers, blast freezers, refrigerators, etc. These cold rooms store various products, from fruits and vegetables to meats and dairy products. Below are items stored in the cold room and their storage temperatures.

Common Items Stored in the Cold Room and Their Storage Temperatures

(a) Meat and dairy products 

These are typically stored at temperatures below 5 °C to help prevent bacterial growth.The main concern is bacterial growth, and a slight increase in heat could lead to this growth, which later causes food spoilage. It is especially true for processed meat and cheese, which can become contaminated by bacteria like Clostridium botulinum.

(b) Grains

Grain is stored at temperatures ranging from 0 to 10 °C. This temperature is ideal because grains deteriorate faster as the temperature and moisture content increase. Maintaining the standard storage temperature helps prevent the germ from breaking down the grain, preventing spoilage.

(c) Fruits

Fruits can be stored at a variety of temperatures depending on their method of cultivation and transportation. Fruits that are stored above 5 °C for an extended period of time will rot faster than usual. Most fruits can withstand temperatures ranging from 3 to 15 °C with no significant problems if you follow the proper handling procedures during transportation.

 (d) Vegetables

Vegetables can be stored at low temperatures. However, it is not advisable because vegetables absorb moisture from the air around them more than other foods. And this puts them at a greater risk of rotting if kept at an unfavorable temperature.

Cold Storage Tips for Cold Room Businesses

According to the United State’s Consumer Health Services, the following storage guidelines are vital to helping you get the best out of your cold room:

(i) Cool any hot food thoroughly before placing it in the cold room.It is necessary because food that is too hot might raise the temperature of nearby goods. Use little shallow vessels, ice baths, rapid chilling, swirling liquid meals, etc.

(ii) Proper ventilation is required to ensure that oxygen is not restricted inside your cold room and that no moisture condensation forms on any items or equipment.

(iii) Place beef and other raw meats above pork and chicken. You can prevent cross-contamination through proper storage. Place prepared items above or in separate storage from raw food.

 (iv) Carefully wrap all food items in containers or materials that resist moisture. This process reduces cross-contamination, odor absorption, flavor loss, discoloration, and dehydration.

(v) Never put food on the floor of a walk-in freezer or refrigerator. All food should be kept on a rack or shelf at least six inches off the ground. Regularly clean and sterilize the interior of the units.

(vi) Do not overload a freezer or refrigerator.Please ensure proper airflow for the desired temperature. Avoid repeatedly opening the refrigerator/freezer units’ doors. The interior temperature is impacted by warmer air, and the humidity that enters the refrigerator unit makes defrosting more necessary.

(vii) Frequently check the appliance’s temperature, and don’t lower it more than is required.

(viii) To ensure a tight seal, clean the gaskets of mold and filth. As seals and gaskets wear out, replace them.

(ix) Do not store any food within 1 foot (0.3 m) of any other product, or the heat may rise beyond safe levels or cause contamination issues.

Wrapping up

The storage of perishable food is an important task you should carry out carefully. The above tips can help your business skillfully manage food storage to ensure a competitive edge and maximum freshness. Need any help with cold room maintenance and installation? Hit us up today!

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