Cold storage is a large refrigerated room or building designed for storage of goods in an environment below the outdoor temperature. Products needing refrigeration include fruit, vegetables, seafood and meat. Cold stores are often located near shipping ports used for import/export of produce.
Based on the storage conditions, cold storages may be classified into three categories:
- i) Short-term or temporary storage – Short-term or temporary storage is usually associated with retail establishments such as supermarkets, where rapid turnover of the product is normally expected. Depending upon the product the storage period may vary from 1 to 15 days.
- ii) Long-term Storage – Long-term storage is usually associated with large-scale cold storages. The storage period again depends upon the type of product and also the condition of the product at which it is brought into the cold storage. This period may be as short as 7 to 10 days for sensitive products such as ripe tomatoes and as long as 6 to 8 months for products such as onions and potatoes.
- iii) Frozen storage – Using frozen storage, most of the food products can be stored for considerably longer periods, sometimes as high as a few years. However, certain fresh products such as tomatoes cannot be stored under frozen conditions. The storage temperatures for frozen foods typically lie between -23 degree to -12 degree celsius, with -18 degree celsius being the most frequently employed storage temperature.