Distribution Of Chilled Foods

Chilled products must be distributed under temperature-controlled conditions matching the previously described EEC or FDA guidelines. Once the chilled products have been prepared, a temperature-controlled means of transport must be used to ensure that critical product handling temperatures are maintained. Road transports and intermodal freight containers are generally used to transport chilled food products from factory to warehouse to retail outlet. Road transports may include temperature-controlled trailers that may be run independently of the tractor units or trucks with temperature-controlled storage areas. Intermodal freight containers have self-contained temperature control units and may be transported via train or on the bed of a trailer. Temperature-controlled road transports or intermodal freight containers must be capable of not only maintaining a chilled environment in warmer months but also of maintaining chilled products in a refrigerated state during colder seasons.

Chilled food products are generally maintained in exclusive temperature-controlled warehouses or in temperature-controlled sections of other warehouses via the use of cold room techniques previously described. Once the chilled products have been distributed to the retail outlet, refrigerated display units are generally used to maintain product temperature for the remainder of product shelf

Table 2. Commonly used Gas Mixtures in MAP for Microbial Stability in Chilled Products

Chilled product

Target organisms

C02 (%)

Nitrogen (%)

Oxygen (%)

Pasta

Molds, S. aureus

>35

>20

Meats

Spoilage organisms

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