Emergency Refrigeration Lessons from a Food Waste Expert

Picture of Food Waste
23-Mar-2018

Here at Icecool Trailers, we are obsessed with all things refrigeration. So it is no surprise that we were intrigued by an article published in the Daily Mail back in mid-February. The article was all about smashing some of the more common myths that lead to food waste in the UK. There are lessons to be learned from the piece.

The Daily Mail featured Australian food waste expert Ronni Kahn, who told them that "food labelling is the second-biggest cause of food waste." Kahn went on to explain how our grandmothers smelled, sniffed, and tasted food products to determine whether they were still good in the days before refrigeration and government-mandated labelling.

So what are the lessons to be learned? There are three of them, all relating to emergency refrigeration. And by the way, we always recommend portable trailers and cold rooms as a better alternative to refrigerated van hire during emergency situations. We believe they are superior to vans whatever way you look at it.

Myth #1: Expiry Dates Are Ironclad

A lot of people live under the misconception that expiry dates on food labels are ironclad. In other words, once that date has been reached the food must be discarded because it is no longer edible. This is simply not true. Expiry dates are meant only as a guide to let people know when food might be nearing its end of life.

The thing about expiry dates is that they can be exceeded by quite a bit simply by freezing foods. Granted, not all foods do well in the freezer, but those that do enjoy a longer shelf life that easily exceeds expiry dates. Nothing changes in an emergency refrigeration situation as long as food is kept cold.

Myth #2: Packaged Fruits and Vegetables Are Better

The second myth busted by Kahn is one that says packaged fruits and vegetables are better. In terms of avoiding food waste, they are not. Unpackaged fruits and vegetables are easier to store in the refrigerator without encouraging spoilage. At the same time, it's easier to identify the first signs of spoilage when they first begin to appear.

In an emergency refrigeration situation, packaged fruits and vegetables could present the illusion of freshness when the product really is on the edge. It would be better to have unpackaged products that are easier to examine on a case-by-case basis.

Myth #3: Refrigeration Solves Everything

Our third lesson was not mentioned by Kahn, yet it is implied in every emergency refrigeration situation. This lesson is the reality that refrigeration does not solve everything. Even food kept in a chiller or freezer will eventually go bad. Nothing lasts forever.

We encourage our customers to routinely inspect food products when using emergency refrigeration solutions. Pay attention to expiry dates without obsessing over them, examine fruits and vegetables for early signs of spoilage, and make sure all cold storage solutions are kept at a temperature appropriate to contents.

Sources:

Daily Mail – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-5394033/Do-know-long-food-REALLY-lasts.html