Keeping meat refrigerated keeps it in an edible state for longer periods by slowing down the growth of dangerous bacteria. The process is a temporary measure used for transporting carcasses whilst in transit. The refrigeration is often begun at the meat’s point of origin in large walk-in cold stores. The meat is transferred to the refrigerated road transport, which keeps the cargo at the same temperature for the duration of the journey. The meat is then placed back in a cold store again when it reaches its destination.

Refrigeration only slows the growth of bacteria, however, it does not halt it as freezing does. If meat is chilled to below 40 degrees Celcius, it is considered to be within safe limits as anywhere from 40 degrees up to sixty degrees is considered to be dangerous. Food scientists have studied the growth of bacteria in a large wide range of conditions and temperatures. They have found that storing meat between 40 and 60 degrees means that the amount of bacteria doubles in just twenty minutes.

Despite the well-engineered refrigerator vans on offer, all food eventually spoils, even when kept chilled. However, spoiled meat does not make anyone sick unless there is a growth of pathogenic bacteria. If a chilled van’s equipment were to fail and the temperature inside were to raise above forty degrees Celcius for longer than two hours, all the contents would have to be thrown away.

This information is only a guide, and you should refer to the refrigeration unit’s instructions for precise details about maintenance and the care of food within it.

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