The cold chain is of great significance to modern society in various contexts, although relatively few have a detailed understanding or even awareness of it. Those situated in the transportation industry may have heard of the cold chain, owing to the part which commercial fleets play within, yet it remains useful to have the specifics at hand. 

To give you some knowledge on the subject, we’ve put together this cold chain guide which provides you with a solid foundation by answering all of the most relevant questions while laying out the fundamentals.

What is a Cold Chain?

A cold chain is a specialised type of supply chain or logistics system that is designed to control and maintain the temperature for a wide range of perishable goods which are sensitive to fluctuations in temperature.

Cold Chain Examples

Examples of common products contained within a cold chain include foodstuffs such as fresh produce (fruit and vegetables), dairy products (milk and cheese), meat and poultry (beef, chicken etc.), seafood (fish and shellfish), and an array of frozen foods. On the other hand, a cold chain may also comprise pharmaceutical goods like vaccines and medications.

Why is the Cold Chain Important?

The cold chain is important because certain products such as those listed above will either perish or lose their efficacy without proper temperature control. For instance, the majority of foods will become unsafe for consumption if they are not stored at certain temperatures, and most vaccines and medicines will become ineffective owing to their chemical sensitivity.

How a Cold Chain Works

A cold chain works by having a series of set tasks carried out until a product is moved from its point of origin to its final destination. The key steps of a cold chain involve the preparation of the product, its placement in a temperature-controlled storage unit, transportation under controlled conditions, and finally, delivery to the intended recipient.

What Will Break a Cold Chain?

A break in the cold chain happens when the prescribed temperature-controlled environment for a perishable product is compromised. Such breaks can occur due to equipment malfunctions, temperature zone fluctuations, delays, human errors, power outages, or packaging issues.

Importantly, a break in the cold chain indicates that a product has not been handled in accordance with its prescribed temperature requirements or with the regulations which are in force.

How to Ensure Cold Chain Compliance

It is crucial that fleet managers working within a cold chain guarantee that compliance with regulations is ensured throughout the entire transportation process for two primary reasons. That is, breaches in cold chain regulations pose both risks to public health and the economy. 

The former concerns physical safety in preventing consequences like food poisoning, with the latter regarding the implied financial impact. Namely, a customer is within their rights to refuse a delivery if they feel that a cold chain has been broken in transport, and moreover, regulations breaches constitute grounds for damage compensation.

We at MICHELIN Connected Fleet understand the importance of maintaining cold chain compliance, and so have developed cold chain tracking and monitoring solutions that make it easy to uphold the quality of goods your fleet transports. 

Our solutions give fleet managers comprehensive visibility, the ability to adapt to different temperature zones, and proof of compliance for your customers’ peace of mind. If you’re interested in how we can help your cold chain fleet, then be sure to make an enquiry today.