Cold storage is one of the most crucial requirements for food industry. It preserves the quality of perishable products such as fruits and vegetables and prevents dangerous bacteria and other rodents from destroying the crops.
The day from when the fresh produce is harvested, it starts deteriorating. The cold storage slows down the growth of fungi to prevent spoilage of fruits and vegetables. It gives a longer shelf life to the products.
Cold Storage may be classified into three categories:
a) Short-term or temporary storage
b) Long-term storage andc) Frozen storage
For short and long term storage, the product is cooled and stored at a temperature that is slightly above the freezing point. The storage temperature varies depending upon the product, in general, it lies anywhere between -16oC to -2oC.
Short-term storage is usually associated with retail establishments such as supermarkets, where rapid turnover of the product is normally expected. The storage period may vary from 1 to 15 days depending upon the product.
Long-term storage is usually associated with large-scale cold storage. The storage period depends upon the type of product and also the condition of the product at which it is brought to the cold storage facility. This period can be as short as 7 to 10 days for ripe tomatoes and as long as 6 to 8 months for products such as onions and potatoes.
Frozen storage is used to store most food products for considerably longer periods, sometimes as high as a few years. The storage temperatures for frozen foods typically lie between –23oC to –12oC.