Improving the Integrated Cold Chain, One Link at a Time

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By Corey Rosenbusch and Stephen Neel

FOODREVIEW Vol. IV No.5 Mei 20009

Imagine the countless hours invested by a single farmer into the production of a single crop, including the hours spent planning, planting, nurturing, watering, pruning, cultivating, and picking the crop. Next, consider all ofprecious resources invested into the production of the same crop, including the cots of seed, water, eletricity, fuel, equipment, fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, and labor. This crop, in many cases, represents the primary and only income for the farmer in a sustenance market. Now, consider that betweet 40 and 60 percent of the farmer’s crop maybe lost due to spoilage, decay, disesase, or other disorders that occur after the crop has been harvested and before the consumer can eat the product. These postharvest losses are part of a growing global food crisis, and represent that value associated with proper cold chain management of perishable foods from harvest to market.

While it is critical to continue global efforts to improve food production through the development of improved crop genetics, expanded use of proper farming equipment, enhanced worker productivityand processing technology; reducing losses that occur after harvest and during the packaging, processing, storage, distribution, and transportation of perishbale foods represent the primary goal of cold chain management practices, and if successfull, will ultimately result in higher value products on the marketplace, more food for human consupmtion, and higher quality food with longer shelf life for distribution to those areas with the greatest need.

Link of The Integrated Cold Chain

The integrated cold chain is a linked supply chain or value chain hat transfers perishable foods from the point of harvest or sacrifice, in the case of animals, to the final point consumption. Whereas each commodity and region of the world may have a slightly different perishable supply chain, the primary links of the integrated cold chian include the following :

  • Postharvest handling involves the procedures or techniques that happen immediately after harvest or sacrifice. In the case of horticuluture crops, effective postharvest handling should occur at the field level, and can include effective pre-cooling and field heat removal system as well as effective packaging, including the proper use of crates and bins. Effective pre-cooling system facilitate the rapid entry of perishable products into the cold chain, which will help reduce postharvest losses, decay, an spoilage. With regard to sacrifice or slauhgter of animals, time and temperature management, along with sound contamination or bacterial control measure, represent the key components of extending shelf life and producing a high quality meat product of human consumption. When considering postharvest treatment should be considered the most important component of effective cold chain management, and begins immediately after harvest or slaughter. Poor postharvest or slaughter techniques may not be immediatly evident, but eill result in poor product performance and storage cpcbility down the value chain
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