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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Cold Supply Chain and Its Flow

The cold supply chain can be described as a non-interrupted flow of storage and distribution activities which maintains a given temperature range of perishable goods.  It is used to help extend and ensure the shelf life of products such as blood, confectionaries, fresh agricultural produce, seafood, frozen foods, photographic films, chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs. 

It is the unbroken chain that maintains the freshness of the products from the farm or the production zone to the consumers.  This process requires refrigeration equipments like truck refrigerated system, refrigerators, cold storage and reefers. 

According to Wikipedia, “cold chains are common in the food and pharmaceutical industries and also some chemical shipments. One common temperature range for a cold chain in pharmaceutical industries is 2 to 8 °C. But the specific temperature (and time at temperature) tolerances depend on the actual product being shipped.
This is important in the supply of vaccines to distant clinics in hot climates served by poorly developed transport networks. Disruption of a cold chain due to war may produce consequences similar to the smallpox outbreaks in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War.

Traditionally all historical stability data developed for vaccines were based on the temperature range of 2–8 °C. With recent development of biological products by former vaccine developers, biologics has fallen into the same category of storage at 2–8 °C due to the nature of the products and the lack of testing these products at wider storage conditions.
The cold chain distribution process is an extension of the good manufacturing practice (GMP) environment that all drugs and biological products are required to adhere to, enforced by the various health regulatory bodies. As such, the distribution process must be validated to ensure that there is no negative impact to the safety, efficacy or quality of the drug substance. The GMP environment requires that all processes that might impact the safety, efficacy or quality of the drug substance must be validated, including storage and distribution of the drug substance.”

Now, let’s explain the flow of the cold supply chain.  We are going to use meat as our product to explain the flow of the cold supply chain.

The flow of the cold supply chain is from the production zone, to processing zone to distribution zone, this includes the supermarkets and wholesalers. Next is to the retailers and last is to consumers.

Production Zone

On the production farms, meats are being slaughtered.  From there, they store the meat into a cold storage before their deliver it the processing zone.  They use refrigerated trucks to deliver the meats.  This could maintain the temperature and the freshness of the product. 

Processing Zone

On the processing zone, meats are being cuts, processed and packaged.  They use refrigerated container and cold storage to maintain the meats temperature and freshness.  They will also use trucks powered by a refrigeration system to deliver the processed meats to supermarkets and wholesalers.

Distribution Zone

On the supermarkets and wholesalers, they use refrigerated display cases and cold storage to display and store the meats.

Retailers and Consumers

They are also using refrigerated display cases and cold storage to display and store the meats.  The consumers buy the meats from retailers or from the supermarkets. 

The whole cold supply chain process requires the refrigerated truck, refrigerated container or reefer, cold storage, refrigerators, and refrigerated display cases in order to maintain the freshness of the products from the harvest to fork.

Coolaire Consolidated, Inc. is your partner in refrigeration such as truck refrigeration system refrigerated truck body, reefers and air conditioning units.


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