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#1 idolene

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 01:26 PM

Hi good afternoon, our company produces ready to eat meals, we are going into the freezing route and we opted for fast freezing (blast freezer).

the problem I have is where do I get regulations or standards to state the time, maximum & minimum freezing temperatures, etc, of the product. We in South Africa

Kind regards
Idolene



#2 Charles.C

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 04:28 PM

Hi good afternoon, our company produces ready to eat meals, we are going into the freezing route and we opted for fast freezing (blast freezer).

the problem I have is where do I get regulations or standards to state the time, maximum & minimum freezing temperatures, etc, of the product. We in South Africa

Kind regards
Idolene


Dear Idolene,

You are basically asking about freezing system performance data.

I am guessing you are talking about a conveyor iqf freezer such as a spiral type.

For iqf systems I think the defining operational formulae are typically a composite of factors such as product, throughput, product thickness, system freezing temperature / freezing system parameters such as internal air flow geometry, compressor characteristics etc.

The usual source of typical data such as freezing times vs product type / thickness/volume are the system supplier.

The typical target exit temperature is usually <= (-18degC) at the product core.

Sometimes approx. rules-of-thumb do exist for specific product types, eg minimum time to achieve exit core temp. of -18degC is X sec./cm thickness.

Rgds / Charles.C

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#3 shea quay

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 11:16 PM

You may be able to gleam some technical information off of this Irish document that's based on good references...


www.fsai.ie/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=746
I used to work in the ready to eat industry. Our critical limit for freezing post blast chilling was -5C with a further 24 hours in a storage freezer to reach below -15C. Worked for us, but wasn't based on any particular legislation. We validated it by product testing and shelf life testing. However, as Charles states, each and every process is different, and when you are dealing with ready meals, you need to be certain of your results before progressing.



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#4 Charles.C

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 03:35 AM

You may be able to gleam some technical information off of this Irish document that's based on good references...


www.fsai.ie/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=746
I used to work in the ready to eat industry. Our critical limit for freezing post blast chilling was -5C with a further 24 hours in a storage freezer to reach below -15C. Worked for us, but wasn't based on any particular legislation. We validated it by product testing and shelf life testing. However, as Charles states, each and every process is different, and when you are dealing with ready meals, you need to be certain of your results before progressing.


Dear shea quay,

I assume you are referring to processing just-cooked materials. If so, I suspect yr Production Manager was either an octogenarian or Ireland is technologically stuck in the Dark Ages. :biggrin:

This (I had thought obsolete) historical method is I believe known as slow freezing, aka slow and dirty, although at least it's 1 step up from its predecessor - direct freezing in the cold store.

Reminds me of the squid freezing company i once regularly audited who saved money by only turning their freezers on at 0100 hours to get cheap-rate electricity. They were also masters at responding to odorous quality complaints. :smile:

Rgds / Charles.C

@Idolene, from memory, the -18degC is specified/explained in the well-known EC regulation (852/2004 et seq) for retail foods used throughout EC (tolerances are also discussed).

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#5 shea quay

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 09:09 AM

I was the production manager......

Sadly it was process based - the upgrade to a spiral freezer was beyond the means of the company as they had spent a rather large part of their infrastructure budget on a leprechaun chasing device that never quite woked out (this is quite common in the Irish food industry and has contributed to the country's current finantial crisis - we are also almost all of the time drunk and breaking into spontaneous dance which is a health and safety nightmare). The system itself worked (in such a way that I never had to deal with a customer ringing up to say our product had killed them) and was approved by the BRC and several of the British multiples, though we did have to validate it with a temperature logger on a weekly basis.

You with your fancy ipods, iqf freezers, uninterupted power supply and rap music and other such modern fancy devices, Charles. Shame on you.



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#6 Cranberry

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 09:55 AM

You with your fancy ipods, iqf freezers, uninterupted power supply and rap music and other such modern fancy devices, Charles. Shame on you.



I imagine Charles with a pair of those shoes with wheels in the heels.

We have a similarly stone age freezing process, having spent all our profits on a white Mercedes C63 AMG. This is parked by the MD outside my window mocking me. Although, in a veg prep factory I used to work in the owner had a Porsche Cayenne, but my office (cupboard) had no windows. Onwards and upwards!

We use the argument of working within our resources whenever we are questioned about using the equivalent of a cool bag to freeze our products.



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#7 idolene

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 10:45 AM

Ok thank you very much guys, I think I'v got it now. :thumbup: and ya we are going to be working on a blast freezer process, and is that really thrue about the Irish and song and dance???

Kind regards
Idolene



#8 shea quay

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 11:55 AM

Apologies, idolene - no, sadly the song and dance part is not true (obviously the alcohol part is though), but just to clarify my post....

I do completely agree with Charles - a spiral freezer freezing to -18C would be ideal. However, this is not always possible. In my case, we produced chilled ready to eat products (0-5C), but were asked / told by a customer that a frozen product was required. As the money was not available to update our process line, we had to "cheat" a little by finishing the freezing process the old fashioned way as completing the freezing process in our blast freezer would have messed up our production schedule (we were looking at an extra six hours and space restrictions also). As with Cranberry above, we justified this through the lack of resources argument, but did back it up with technical studies such as microbiological testing, shelf life testing, recordings of the storage freezer temperatures, data logging the core temperature to show the process was working within our 24 hour limit on a weekly basis. It is not ideal, I appreciate that, but if your company do not have the resouces to upgrade their process, it may be an option. Just remember to pay consideration to your hazards in your HACCP study.

The owner of the factory had a BMW X5. I have always found it is hard to beat the power and strength you get from an Opel Corsa 1.0L petrol engine myself. Having gone through the Renault range (both 4 AND 5!) and dabbling in the Ford Fiesta for a while, I have found nothing quite says "I'm the head of the HACCP team" than an Opel with only one remaining hubcap. Living the dream.



#9 Cranberry

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 12:18 PM

...and there is the rub. Fancy kit aside, as long as you can validate your process in terms of food safety, the rest of it is an argument between you and your MD and you and your customers about cost, quality and turnaround.

Doesn't matter what car you drive, as long as it appears to be permanently parked in the factory car park, you know you are in technical.



#10 trubertq

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 06:12 PM

Is the dancing risk assessed? Do you use guns to encourage them to take part???

we also use antiquated blast freezing methods for sous vide product... out product is unsuitable for a spiral freezer ( whatever that is)

We try to keep the workers sober until after 12pm...

I must say shea quay you are looking well for a 80 year old :rolleyes: though I suppose this is the way of the future, working into our 80s to pay of the bank bailout


and last time I checked Charles Ireland had electricity ,


Oh and Thank You shea quay for make me Laugh Out Loud!!


Edited by trubertq, 22 May 2012 - 06:12 PM.

I'm entitled to my opinion, even a stopped clock is right twice a day

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#11 Charles.C

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 03:27 AM

:off_topic: (continued) - (apologies to Idolene)

Dear Shea Quay & Cranberry,

Thank you for the kind words. Must say I, and no doubt most QA people, have been compared to many “things” but I think this is the first time I hv seen leprechauns mentioned. Did you know they are legally a protected species (in EC anyway) ? -

http://www.irishcent...-117791804.html

I always wondered what leprechauns did in their off-time since they do seem to hv very few defined functions.

Maybe listening to Irish Goddesses, eg –


(goosebump time)

Rgds / Charles.C

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C





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