Maintaining the right food temperature is essential for its preservation. The right conditions, among others, are to guarantee stable cooling temperatures throughout the production chain. This cooling halts the food’s decomposition process. The microorganisms and enzymes involved in these processes become dormant or inactive thanks to low temperatures.
Without food temperature control, the modern food industry as we know it could not exist, and consumers would end up suffering from various diseases. So, to avoid these problems, the best thing is to understand the reasons behind effective temperature control in the food industry and how to carry it out easily.
Types of Food industry
The chain will break when the food loses the temperature indicated for its preservation. In this sense, for refrigerated products, the temperature should not exceed 5 °C. For frozen products, the temperature should not be above −18 °C. We must highlight that the temperature we are dealing with here is that of the food and not of the cold room.
Sometimes, measuring temperature wrong can lead to error, as the temperature in some areas of the chamber can be incorrect due to the location of the temperature sensors. It can also register transitory variations, without this affecting the food, which keeps its temperature.To prevent these problems, we can use temperature labels, as they are stuck directly onto the product or pallet, ensuring that their measurements are real.
The food industry always works against the clock. Once an animal is butchered or a plant is harvested, it inevitably starts to rot.
Between the slaughterhouse or the crop field and the consumer’s home, there is a whole production chain that must ensure a safe preservation system. The implementation of methodologies based on industrial food sterilization programmes is the only guarantee to achieve these goals. Refrigeration is a useful way of preserving food, preventing or slowing down its deterioration. However, conducting a previous sterilization process is sometimes needed to make sure that pathogens are eliminated.
The most effective method for the sterilization of packaged foods is heat disinfection. This method involves heating the food and its containers up to temperatures that eliminate any microorganisms that may damage them. In this sense, food sterilization temperature ranges from 115 to 127 °C, depending on the type of food. This is high enough to ensure the complete annihilation of any common pathogens.
Temperature control and ensuring that the necessary temperatures are reached in these processes is vital, as errors can have serious health consequences. One of the several disinfection methods is the sterilization of preserves in an autoclave. These machines heat the preserves using water vapour above 100 °C and subject them to high pressure. High temperatures and water vapour together lead to the denaturation of proteins in microorganisms, contributing to an effective elimination.
HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, a protocol followed by the food industry to ensure food safety and industrial food sterilization. It involves the identification, evaluation and prevention of contamination risks of food throughout the production chain.
This tool guarantees the quality of food and ensures its preservation over time. It is a strict protocol that establishes self-control mechanisms, allowing for rapid action if there is an onset of a threat somewhere in the chain.
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