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The Canadian food cold chain: A legislative, scientific, and prospective overview

Mercier, S., Mondor, M., Villeneuve, S., Marcos, B. (2018). The Canadian food cold chain: A legislative, scientific, and prospective overview, 88 637-645.


© 2018 The aim of this work is to review the state and performance of the food cold chain in Canada, highlight current and potential research on the cold chain, and identify areas for improvement. The cold chain in Canada faces unique challenges related to the succession of warm (summer) and freezing (winter) conditions during the year, the long transportation distances, and the presence of hundreds of northern communities not accessible year-round by road, rail or sea. Time-temperature profiles indicate that the temperature of perishable foods is successfully kept in the desired range along a typical Canadian four-step cold chain in winter but that improvements should be made to lower the temperature during transportation and storage at the processor in summer. The recent development of the Canadian GIS-based Risk Assessment, Simulation, and Planning (CanGRASP) tool represents a significant achievement that will make it possible to simulate the performance of the cold chain at a national scale and opens promising avenues for preventing foodborne outbreaks and investigating new food management systems designed to reduce food waste and energy consumption. Making community-specific adjustments to cold chains that deliver food to northern communities should be a major priority for future cold chain improvements, as it could help alleviate their higher-than-average concerns about food security.

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