Humidity control in the food industry is very much at the back end of corporate HACCP cold chain protocols when it comes to food safety audits.
Rarely, if ever, do safety auditors, executive chefs, food and beverage professionals, supermarket management, meat traders, fruit and vegetable fresh produce merchants/agents, winemakers take humidity levels into account in their cold chains (and cellars).
Cold chain ambient temperature being the primary benchmark everyone focuses on. Core temperatures being the primary instrument food safety auditors use to measure cold chain efficiency.
Cold room door after walk-in cold room door; HACCP file after HCCAP file; food safety record keeping files will contain, or display, a temperature chart but never a relative humidity chart.
The focus on temperature is easy to understand.
Food must either be stored at a very low temperature or cooked at a very high degree to be safely consumed all professionals are taught from a young age.
The reality is that whilst ambient (and core) temperatures have a critical role to play in the food chain, the air handling units (HVAC, air conditioning, evaporator fans, etc) that are utilised to maintain low temperatures, also dehumidify the internal air of their enclosed chambers.
The foregoing results in fresh produce, fresh meat, fresh fist, etc all losing qualitative condition and weight due to low moisture levels. Much worse in Winter months when the free-air humidity levels tend to dip.
Where humidity is at a lower level than the percentage of water a produce contains, the produce will give up moisture thus reducing shelf-life and quality in the process.
Ignoring cold chain humidity control could be one of the primary reasons why up to 20% of the world’s harvested food stocks have to be dumped each year.