Humidity control, or rather the lack thereof, is one of the most neglected aspects of the fresh produce chain.
Very few, if any:
- of the primary participants in the fresh produce chain, from farm packhouse to fresh produce market to wholesaler to retailer enforce humidity control as a key component of their HACCP protocols
- food auditing entities (both in-house and independent) include humidity control in their auditing practices and reporting tending to focus on ambient/core temperature and bacterial swaps as their primary indicators of good/safe food handling/storage practises
- professionals in the wider food preparation & manufacturing sector record relative humidity levels on their cold storage charts – they only tend to focus on ambient temperature readings
- food scientists, food-related academics, food consultants and food safety training personnel give any attention to RH
- food safety training manuals actually mention the word ‘humidity” or ‘relative humidity’
Fresh produce such as fruit & vegetables require a minimum of 85% to 90% to maintain qualitative condition.- one of the reasons by 20% of the world’s produce does not reach the end consumer!
Fresh hanging meat requires 82% constant RH to prevent excessive weight loss, loss of colour and texture.
Winemakers can reduce wine evaporative losses in wine barrel cellars by 50% where a cellar has a constant RH of 80%
Go to http://www.polarafrica.co.za for further information on humidity control and why same is absolutely necessary in the wide food production/manufacturing/preparation/retail space.