What is cold chain food?

At the end of 2020, because the cold chain food was tested positive for the new coronavirus, the cold chain food became a hot spot and the object of public attention for a while, and became a hot topic. So, what is cold chain food, let’s take a look at these little knowledge about cold chain food.

Cold chain food

Cold chain food refers to food that undergoes various production and transportation links through the cold chain. Generally speaking, the cold chain is a food production line in a low-temperature environment. For those foods that are perishable, starting from their acquisition or fishing, through product processing, storage, transportation, distribution and retailing, and finally to consumers, each link must maintain a suitable low temperature environment for the food, Thereby reducing loss, ensuring the quality and quality of food, and preventing food from being contaminated. Such a special supply chain system with low temperature is called food cold chain.

Composition of food cold chain

Generally speaking, the food cold chain consists of the following four aspects:

  1. Freezing processing: that is, the processing of food in a low-temperature environment, including cooling, pre-cooling and freezing. For example, the freezing of meat, poultry, fish and eggs; the pre-cooling of some fruits and vegetables; and the low-temperature processing of dairy products and quick-frozen foods. Commonly used special cooling, freezing or quick freezing equipment to carry out.
  2. Frozen storage: It is mainly divided into cooling storage and freezing storage, which is the reason why food can be preserved for a long time. For foods such as fruits and vegetables, there is also a special controlled atmosphere storage, which prolongs the shelf life by adjusting the composition of the air. The household refrigerator we usually use is a tool for freezing and storing.
  3. Refrigerated transportation: that is, the low temperature control of food in the logistics process. In the process of transportation, an important factor to ensure the quality of food is to control the change of temperature, not only low temperature, but also stability, so there are certain performance requirements for transportation tools.
  4. Frozen sales: refers to the wholesale and retail of cold chain foods. Since a certain low temperature environment is also required to ensure quality in the container, the refrigerator or freezer we usually see in the supermarket is the main tool for this link.

Common Cold Chain Foods

The cold chain is an important guarantee for us to be able to eat fresh ingredients thousands of miles away. The cold chain food is actually around us. The fresh ingredients we usually buy from other regions, as well as many foods stored at low temperature in supermarkets, are provided by the special supply chain system of the cold chain.

For example, some vegetables and fruits are not actually produced locally, but we can eat fresh ones because the cold chain transportation ensures their quality; similarly there are meat, poultry, eggs and aquatic products, etc.; In addition to common food, flower products are also guaranteed quality through the cold chain.

In addition to fresh ingredients, some processed foods, such as cooked poultry, meat or aquatic products, quick-frozen foods, fast food raw materials, ice cream and dairy products, etc., all need to be processed, transported and stored in the cold chain.

In addition to the cold chain being used in the food industry, some special pharmaceutical transportation also needs to be carried out through the cold chain.

Common Pharmaceutical Cold Chain

Medicines cold chain logistics refers to the logistics process in which pharmaceutical production, operation, logistics enterprises and user units use special facilities to keep the temperature of refrigerated medicines from the finished product warehouse of the production enterprise to the drugs warehouse of the user unit always controlled within the specified range.

Cold chain drug refer to drug that require refrigeration, freezing and other temperature requirements for pharmaceutical drugs storage and transportation.

The temperature has a great influence on the quality of medicines, too high or too low can cause the medicines to deteriorate and cause losses. In particular, biological products, blood products, insulin, vaccines and most targeted preparations and monoclonal antibodies can only be stored within the appropriate specified temperature range to minimize the impact of temperature on pharmaceutical drugs quality. If the temperature is too low, the pharmaceutical drugs will be frozen and cause drugs freeze-thaw (freezing and thawing refers to a physical action and phenomenon of freezing and thawing due to the temperature dropping below zero and rising above zero), resulting in the occurrence of some drugs properties. Changes, which in turn may make the drugs denatured or invalid.

Common cold chain medicines, such as blood products used in large quantities in hospitals, various insulins, antibiotics, etc., as well as the recently common new crown mRNA vaccine. The vast majority of cold chain pharmaceutical drugs need to be stored and transported under strictly limited indicators and to ensure that the validity period and efficacy of the pharmaceutical drug are not lost. The most important thing is to keep low temperature and constant temperature continuously, so that the cold chain The logistics process of pharmaceuticals during delivery, transshipment, and handover, as well as in the unit of use, meets the specified refrigeration requirements without “broken chain”.

In order to ensure the safe management and transportation of cold chain food and pharmaceutical drugs, the industry has formulated a series of strict standards and management systems, which we will explain in future articles.

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