Pre Cooling: essential in Cold Chain Management
Pre-cooling is the quick cooling down, shortly after harvesting, of perishable fruits, vegetables, flowers & more, aimed at prolonging the shelf life of the produce. As a “rule of thumb” pre-cooling should be done to around 7/8 of the final storage temperature. An example. If you want to pre-cool iceberg lettuce, harvested at 20 °C in the field, and stored at 0,5 °C in the cold-room, the perfect pre-cooling is to around 3 – 4 °C.
- Reduce respiration rate. Reducing the respiration rate will slow down enzymatic processes that cause produce to degrade.
- Reduce water loss and wilting
- Slow the growth of spoilage bacteria. These bacteria are always present and can cause rapid spoilage at higher temperatures.
- Slow down ripening. At higher temperatures, ethylene producing produce will ripen quickly, perhaps before it can be consumed.
Cooling with vacuum cooling technology is energy efficient, increases the shelf life and excludes bacteria.
For many flowers, vegetables, turf and other products, the deeper you can pre cool before shipment, the longer it will take for the produce to “heat up” again: Pre cooling 1 or 2 °C deeper can result in 3 – 5 °C difference (or more) on arrival.