Fruit & Veg in Cold Storage

Fruit and vegetables stored in walk-in cold rooms should ideally have the following parameters covered in the HCCP Cold Chain Protocol of the establishment to maintain qualitative condition:

  • Correct ambient temperature required inside the cold room for the specific fresh produce in cold storage (minimum as well as maximum setpoints required)
  • If fresh produce is of a “mixed” variety special care will have to be taken as to which temperature is set given that some products do not fare well in very low temperatures
  • Correct humidity (RH) level required – as a general rule 90% RH should suffice
  • Stock rotation must be vigorously employed failing which the shelf-life of fresh stocks could be negatively impacted by putrid stocks
  • Do not store fresh produce directly on the floor as air circulation could be hampered leading to loss of qualitative condition
  • Do not leave cold room doors opened for extended periods of time as temperature drops will be experienced
  • Ethylene sensitive fresh produce should not be stored in the same facility as ethylene gas-producing produce – if the foregoing protocol cannot be implemented then ethylene extraction solutions need to be employed
  • Ensure refrigeration plant is serviced at planned intervals to avoid costly breakdowns with the potential loss of stock especially if the faulty part is not readily available

Contact Polar Africa at for advice and/or tried and tested solutions to control humidity and rid cold rooms of ethylene gas buildup.