Walk In Cold Rooms: Fact versus Fiction Chapter 1.

A little-known fact among experienced fresh produce distributors, executive chefs, and food professionals, in general, is that walk-in chillers or cold rooms (even brand new units) are not perfect cold storage facilities given that during the day hot air enters the chamber and creates excess moisture (demonstrated by the presence of condensation inside on walls, shelves, covered foodstuffs) whilst conversely when the chiller/cold room doors are kept shut for hours (after work shifts), the evaporators dry out the internal air of the chiller/cold room.

The facts are that:

During work shifts excess moisture creates the perfect breeding ground for food spoilage bacteria, spores, moulds and yeasts to grow and spread. Whilst off-peak open food produce has to give up moisture to balance the humidity in the internal air and in the process shrinks, loses colour, weight, and qualitative condition which impacts negatively on the commercial value of the commodity as well as appearance.

Fiction dictates that:

The ultimate fallacy is that fresh produce that is only stored for a few hours in cold storage is exempt from qualitative deterioration/bacterial infection. The fact is from the moment fresh produce enters a walk-in chiller/cold room it is exposed to any ‘unhealthy’ conditions that may exist as well as the delivered produce itself may introduce health-related threats (spores, moulds and yeasts).

Reality dictates that:

Unless food professionals take a long hard look at their HACCP cold chain protocols and correct them in line with how to make (old and even brand new) chillers/cold rooms perfect cold storage facilities their cold storage foodstuffs will lose qualitative condition, colour, texture and weight.

For valuable information on how to avoid the foregoing go to https://polarafrica.co.za/fresh-produce-humidity-ethylene-control/