Cold chain? What is it and how to maintain it in your logistics?

When it comes to freight transport, the rules to follow and to apply are crucial. Between packaging and precautions, it’s essential not to skimp on the means. Refrigerated vehicles, isothermal boxes, the ultimate temperature,… we could write you a thesis on these subjects but in this article, we will summarise the most important aspects of the cold chain.

What is the cold chain?

“The cold chain involves the transportation of temperature-sensitive products along a supply chain through thermal and refrigerated packaging methods, as well as logistics planning in order to protect the integrity of these deliveries….”

Wait!! Let’s try to make these concepts more digestible. We really don’t want to lose you along the way (that would be quite a pity).

When it comes to freight transport, the cold chain includes the packaging of products requiring a certain temperature. Indeed, some products — such as food, vaccines, etc. – could be a risk to consumers if they are not maintained under certain thermal standards.

The risks of a break in the cold chain

In case there would be a break in the cold chain, the risk of microbial growth, the appearance of germs such as salmonella or simply a reduction of the shelf life of the product may appear. This can obviously bring a whole series of health risks and therefore be a danger to health!

To prevent these risks, several types of solutions exist such as the use of refrigerated vehicles to regulate the temperature of their cargo or the use of isothermal boxes / thermoboxes. These isothermal boxes contain eutectic plates that allow a constant diffusion of cold to maintain a uniform temperature level.

The cold chain of food products

There are different categories of food products: very perishable foods, perishable foods and frozen foods.

In order to retain their nutritional qualities and consumability, each category has its own temperature standards to respect:

Very perishable foodstuff
For example: meat, fish,…
Conservation: between 0 ° C and 4 ° C

Perishable foodstuffs
For example: vegetables, ready meals,…
Preservation: 8 ° C

Frozen foodstuffs
For example: ice cream, frozen vegetables,…
Storage: -18 ° C

Non-compliance of the packaging or transport temperatures makes the food not suitable for consumption and could present the health risks presented above.

The cold chain for sanitary applications

Sanitary application? All the products directly or indirectly related to the health sector. Any break in the cold chain could have dramatic consequences here, making the products unfit for consumption, dangerous for the public or completely ineffective!

The standard of preservation of these products is a temperature between 2 ° C and 8 ° C. That’s why isothermal protection has become a major challenge for the pharmaceutical industry.

How do we manage the cold chain?

At Shippr, we respect the cold chain for our deliveries. We offer a specialised service for food, fruits, vegetables and wholesale logistics in order to meet a wide range of customer requirements. Shippr works with independent professional collaborators who don’t own refrigerated vehicles. That’s why we propose to our customers our partnership with a company that produces isothermal boxes.

The cold chain isn’t a game

Now that you know the most important rules about the cold chain, make sure to respect them. Gambling with it? No! It’s about consumer health. The quality of your product is essential. Your consumers deserve your product at its best!

Questions?

We hope we succeed in giving you more insights on this subject. If you have any questions feel free to reach our Shippr team at “hello@shippr.be”. You can also connect with the team on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn.

See you very soon!

*Article initially published on Medium.com on January 30th 2019

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