In the Netherlands we eat an average of 77.8 kilos of meat and meat products per person every year. By means of meat transport, fresh meat goes a long way before it ends up on the consumer’s plate. When storing and transporting meat, however, the environmental conditions and working methods are crucial to maintaining quality. Eating spoilt meat can be very damaging to health. That is why it is very important to pay sufficient attention to this. In this article you will read about how you can slow down the spoilage of fresh meat as much as possible. We also explain what tools you can use to do this.
The spoilage of food during meat transport
Decay literally means that micro-organisms make the food unfit for consumption. Microorganisms can be seen as a kind of little blackheads, which are everywhere. All our food is susceptible to spoilage because its composition attracts microorganisms. So is fresh meat. Fortunately, there are many measures you can take to give micro-organisms as little chance as possible when transporting meat. By taking this into account, you can slow down the spoilage of your meat.
Preventing spoilage during meat transport
As far as meat is concerned, it can spoil quickly due to bacteria. It is important to take this into account when transporting fresh meat. In order not to give bacteria a chance, you can take the following actions:
- Provide a clean environment. Meat can become infected by direct or indirect contact with micro-organisms. It is important to create a hygienic environment in places where meat is processed or prepared. In this way you can limit the presence and growth of micro-organisms. We as humans also carry these micro-organisms with us. They can even multiply rapidly in humans. Ideally, therefore, you should not allow the meat to come into contact with the skin if you want to keep it for a while.
- Pack the meat well. By packing the meat well, you protect it against infections and moisture, among other things.
- Keep the meat chilled or frozen. When your fresh products are cooled, the growth of the micro-organisms stops. The spoilage is then paused, as it were. Different microorganisms have different characteristics. Nevertheless, almost all microorganisms grow at a temperature between 10 and 40 degrees Celsius. As a result, the refrigerated storage of meat significantly slows down spoilage. Freezing stops the growth of the microorganisms altogether.
Keeping and transporting meat chilled or frozen
Throughout the journey of fresh meat from slaughter to consumption, measures should be taken to prevent its deterioration. For example, hygiene, insulation and refrigeration at all stages are very important. Depending on the animal from which the meat originates, it must be processed, stored and transported at a different temperature. In the case of poultry, for example, this is a maximum of 4 degrees Celsius, while in the case of wild meat it is a maximum of 7 degrees Celsius.
The refrigerated transport of meat can be quite a challenge. Usually, refrigerated and freezer vans are used. However, for smaller quantities of meat delivered directly to the consumer, for example, other solutions may be more attractive.
Packaging for refrigerated transport of meat
By combining refrigerants with well-insulating packaging boxes, you can create a kind of mobile fridge. This solution is usually used for transports of up to 24 hours. If your transport procedure involves one-way traffic, it is best to choose refrigerants and packing boxes that are suitable for one-way use. After all, you will no longer get the packaging materials back for reuse.
You can use gel packs to cool meat products to a temperature of 2 to 8 degrees. Gel packs are leakproof polypropylene bags filled with a refrigerant. You can cool the gel packs to the desired temperature beforehand. For an optimal cooling result, transport your products in a well-insulating packaging box. A popular variant is the EPS box: a light styrofoam box with a thick, insulating wall. A newcomer to the landscape of insulating packaging boxes is the EcoCoolBox. This box is made entirely of compostable materials. This allows it to be disposed of with the waste paper after use. For example, the insulating material in the walls is made of paper fibres and the material absorbs moisture well.
Gel packs can also be filled with the so-called Phase Change Material (PCM). This makes them very suitable for transporting products below freezing point. The composition of the cooling gel in the gel packs can be changed. This allows the freezing point to be lowered. In this way, you can transport your goods up to a temperature of up to -23 degrees Celsius.
Sustainable transport materials suitable for reuse
For transports with a return procedure, other tools are more interesting. In these cases you can reuse the packaging materials. For example, you can choose to use dimensionally stable cooling elements. These are made of strong material and therefore have a long lifespan. It is also important when transporting meat that the dimensionally stable cooling elements are easy to clean. Moreover, you can fill them with regular cooling gel or PCM to determine the temperature at which you want to transport the meat products.
The insulating packaging box that lends itself perfectly to transport with a return procedure is the EPP box. This packaging box is made of Expanded Poly Propylene, which makes the box light, strong, easy to clean and well insulated. The EPP boxes are easily stackable and have a long lifespan. This way you are assured of a durable shipping solution!
Do you have any questions, would you like to order or do you need personal advice? Feel free to contact us. Our experts will be happy to help you.