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Complying with legislation surrounding the storage of chilled food

If a warehouse is used to store chilled food before it is supplied to supermarkets, shops, restaurants, and other establishments, then it must adhere to the Food Hygiene Regulations 2006 and accompanying regulations to avoid the food becoming unfit for human consumption during storage.

As it is an offence to sell food that is considered unfit for human consumption, warehouses can be liable if their storage facilities allow for the quality of chilled food to deteriorate and for the growth of harmful bacteria or similar micro-organisms. In order to prevent compromising the safety of chilled food stored at a facility, warehouses should guarantee that temperature is controlled accurately.

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Establishing the types of food that will be stored

Though there are exemptions, chilled produce is split into categories. These include dairy, cooked products, smoked or cured fish, smoked or cured ready-to-eat meat, prepared ready-to-eat food, uncooked or partly cooked pastry and dough products, all of which must be kept at a specified temperature to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Regulated temperature

Regulation for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland states that, if a chilled food is likely to support growth of pathogenic micro-organisms or the formation of toxins, it must be kept at a temperature of 8°C or lower from preparation and production to being displayed for sale. This includes during storage in a warehouse. Scottish regulation specifies no minimal temperature for chilled foods that may support bacterial growth, however, it is recommended that food is stored at 8°C or lower. Therefore, to avoid growth of micro-organisms, such as bacteria or harmful fungi, it is essential that any chilled food storage warehouse is adept at regulating and maintaining temperature.

For full information and details about complying with the Food Hygiene Regulations 2006, read the legislation on the government’s website or contact the Food Standards Agency.

Impact of thermal doors

While warehouses should have a number of different ways to control temperature incorporated into their design, an effective barrier should be created by using thermal doors. Thermal doors can help regulate temperatures, prevent warmer air from entering the chilled or refrigerated area, and are an effective way to reduce annual energy costs and a company’s carbon footprint.

A high speed thermal door can create an effective barrier preventing warmer air to enter a chilled area within a warehouse, and the quick opening and closing speed can limit extended fluctuation in temperature. The VR Speed Door has been tested to -30°C to +70°C and has a thermal conductivity of 0.045w / M2Co making it suitable for use in chilled food storage. This model can be installed internally or externally, delivers a good level of wind resistance, and is manufactured from a toughened PVC.

For areas that are used more frequently, a Crash Door or an EV Curtain may be more appropriate, providing that there are also additional barriers in place.

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