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‘Cold chain infrastructure and awareness lacking in the Caribbean’

Food types require varying temperature conditions in the cold storage to keep them fresh

| | Mar 29, 2017 | 5:52 pm
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Cold chain infrastructure is lacking or below par in several developing countries. As a result, tonnes of produce go waste as they are not stored and transported in favourable thermal conditions. Several experts have already said that cold storage and refrigeration can go a long way in minimising food loss due to thermal abuse.

Speaking specifically about the Caribbean at the 3rd World Cold Chain Summit, Dr Majeed Mohammed, Professor at the University of the West Indies, highlighted the poor cold chain structure in the Central American region. He shared the grim picture about how vehicles that carry produce from the farms are not refrigerated or ventilated, resulting in the produce getting exposed overnight or for two days, before they are moved into chilled rooms. “They are in four degrees C and then put in ambient trucks and then into shelves,” said Dr Mohammed. “There are challenges in air transport, as well. Sometimes, the fruits and vegetables are brought in trucks with no refrigeration and ventilation, and airport authorities insist they should be brought to the airport five hours before, and there they stand in ambient conditions.”

Another worrisome issue that he raised was the lack of education and awareness on cold chain and on food characteristics. He expressed concern over how incompatible commodities that require different refrigeration conditions are kept in the same room. Citing the example of carrots, he said that if they kept in the same room as with other produce, they can begin to sprout due to condensation.

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