Reefer Temperature Control
In order to ensure that fresh produce arrives at its destination for distribution, wholesale and retail, reefer containers have an important role to play in how they manage and control internal temperatures.
Technology has advanced considerably over the years with many shipping container companies offering specialist thermal freight and transport services worldwide.
Temperatures and also the internal atmosphere of reefer containers can now be managed very effectively and two techniques for achieving this are known as follows:
- Controlled atmosphere technology
- Modified atmosphere technology
Controlled Atmosphere (CA)
Food quality and shelf-life can be enhanced and extended by controlling the temperature and the atmosphere within the reefer and hence, around the fresh produce being transported.
This is achieved by supplying nitrogen through a special membrane system which reduces significantly the level of oxygen within the container.
The effect of this is to put the fruits into a short term ‘hibernation’.
These levels can be varied according to the product and the requirement.
The most advanced intermodal containers are able to constantly monitor, control and maintain the oxygen, nitrogen and carbon-dioxide concentrations in accordance with the customers recommendations.
Modified Atmosphere (MA)
Some fruits have higher respiration rates than others and possess the ability to modify the atmosphere from within the container.
To ensure a long shelf life and the growth of harmful spoiling agents, reefer technology now permits the modification of the internal atmosphere (and hence the build up of harmful gases) of the container.
This is achieved through automatic ventilation systems which assist in atmosphere regulation. Without this, some foods can lose their flavour and ripen too quickly.