Cold storage is used for a few main purposes. As the name suggests, this type of storage keeps items cold, or more accurately, at their ideal temperature. This often means perishable items, like food, but there are other items that require cold storage facilities as well. Of course, perishables can’t generally stay locked in a freezer unit forever. They eventually need to reach their consumers, which brings up the second main use for cold storage. It’s frequently used to maintain a precise temperature during transportation—a process known as the cold chain.
Proper cold chain logistics keep products safe for use and at a high quality that customers will be satisfied with. Whether it’s pallets of meat that needs to be kept from spoiling or biological materials that need precise refrigeration to avoid degradation, the cold chain keeps it all safe. The Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) supports strong cold chain logistics in the U.S. and the rest of the world by helping processors, distributors, and distributors maintain the integrity of their brands. Cold storage facilities and containers are generally customized depending on the needs of the products and their respective companies, as it’s virtually impossible to create a “one size fits all” warehouse. Here are some of the most important real life uses for cold storage spaces.
Most nutrient products are perishable, and foods like meats, vegetables, fruit, and dairy products all require commercial refrigeration to avoid spoilage and to remain safe to eat. The foodservice industry constantly relies on commercial cold storage, often in the form of industrial refrigerators and freezers on site. Whether it’s a fast food place, a sit down restaurant, or even a nursing facility with a dietary department, large amounts of food has to be stored in facilities with the proper amount of square feet to avoid contamination. Even something as simple as a few litres of water from Labrador Source, for example, should be kept far away from meats in cold storage.
Food trucks that carry these products also use commercial cold storage solutions in the form of large cool boxes and chests packed with ice to keep them at ideal temperatures during transport. While it’s not advisable to use this method to keep perishables long term, it’s a great temporary solution.
Proper cold storage is crucial for the transport of vaccines and reagents that can suffer chemical breakdowns when exposed to heat or even room temperatures. Cold storage commercial solutions like pharmacy refrigerators and freezers will be needed for both transporting and storing such delicate products. Many vaccines have to be kept at below freezing temperatures, and some of the current Covid-19 vaccines even need to be kept below zero, so there’s no room for mistakes. The CDC maintains guidelines on the safe storage and handling of vaccines from manufacturing all the way to clean rooms.
Medication and Biological Products
The pharmaceutical industry’s need for cold storage isn’t limited to vaccines, of course. Some medications need to be kept at proper temperatures to remain effective, and the transportation of biological products like blood, embryos, and bone marrow is heavily regulated. 2-8°C is fine for most medications and products, although embryos, stem cells, and other especially sensitive products may need to be kept at anywhere from -20 to -80°C.
Choosing the Best Cold Storage
Finding the best cold storage solution for your needs will depend largely on what you plan to store and how much space you need. Naturally, the main thing to worry about is safety. You’ll need a solution that can operate correctly without constant supervision that will also alert you to any temperature fluctuations. It’s also important to invest in a system that can rapidly stabilize temperatures when fluctuations do occur, such as when you have to open a door.
Generally speaking, the more robust your commercial cold storage, the better prepared you’ll be to handle a wide variety of products. You may even find yourself storing some unusual products like sensitive artwork.