• Anoop Janardanan

3 Important Rules for the Cold Chain to maintain the safety and quality of products.

Updated: May 17, 2021

To Maintain the Quality and safety of food products in the supply-chain there is a need for strict guidelines for handling, storing and transportation. It is very important to ensure that the quality of the food is not degraded during their journey from farm to consumer. So cold chain guidelines should be strictly followed without any fault.

Reducing food related illness and wastage of food is critical to food supply chain and is also important to consumers, regulators, food industry and eventually the economy of the country. It is a known fact that contaminated food is the main cause of food related illness. Throwing away food, like fresh vegetables, fruits, meat and fish is mainly due to poor cold chain management practice.

Proper Cold Chain practice is very important for exporting and ensuring high quality for the food products in local use also.

What is Cold Chain?

Manufacturing, transporting, storing, retailing and serving fresh, chilled and frozen foods are the main business engagement in Cold Chain.

Currently the distance between cages to plate is increased immensely. Food is moved in and out of refrigeration many times before consumption. On an average there are 42 steps involved on the way food reaches the consumer.

The effectiveness and temperature control of cold chain is very important to maintain the safety, shelf life and quality of the food.

Cold Chain Guidelines for Food provide best practice recommendations for transport, logistic and safety requirements to ensure the safety and quality of chilled and frozen foods.

Application area of cold Chain monitoring ?..

Cold Chain Rules

Chilled and frozen foods cold chain consist of series of business engagements like manufacturing, transporting, storing, retailing and serving

The cold chain condition, will be set based on the maximum and minimum temperature in which these conditions will be met and the time that a food can be allowed to remain un refrigerated. These factors brings out effectiveness of cold chain and maintains the safety, shelf life and quality of food.

A cold chain must maintain the integrity of the conditions and any break in the specified conditions may affect the quality of the food, length of its shelf life or may damage the food and make it unsafe to eat.

The Cold Chain conditions

There are mainly three cold chain rules.

1. NEVER WARMER THAN rule - temperature.


3. FIRST EXPIRY FIRST OUT rule - rotation.

Setting the Cold Chain conditions

It is very much required to set and document the cold chain requirements for any particular food item. In some cases, standards and regulations for specific products also exist.

Failure to follow established procedure and faulty equipment can result in spoilage of food.


The NEVER WARMER THAN rule is a temperature rule:

This rule states the maximum temperature at which a food should be stored, transported and handled. In the case of chilled foods, it may be mentioned KEEP ABOVE temperature to ensure that the food is not damaged by becoming frozen.



This rule mentions the maximum time period allowed for a food item in cold chain which can be kept outside the temperature controlled environment. Below this time limit it will not break the cold chain condition.


The first to expire is first out rule ensure that the stock which has been in the system for a long time is moved out first. This stock rotation is used in the cold storage to reduce the wastage.


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