When it comes to cold chain optimisation, Australia doesn’t even have the basics in place.

Stop Food Waste chief operating officer, Steve Barthel, said it is hard to believe there is no standard or regulation around insulation in the cold chain yet the National Construction Code (NCC) specifies insulation for everything else.

“Impede air flow and temperatures will vary and humidity will build up. One area where Australia is seriously lacking is in some of the basics like having standardised width of trucks and pallet sizes,” he said.

“The rest of the world has 2.6 metre pallets, we use 2.5 metres which leads to overloading, reduced airflow and problems. I find this situation staggering.

“We haven’t got the basics right and the challengers are bigger here because we are dealing with the tyranny of distance.

“Fresh food in Australia spends more than half its life in transit. Up to 60 per cent of cold chain failures are due to human error, we need more expertise which is why the Australian Food Cold Chain Council (AFCCC) is working on a new code for the industry.”

Barthel was speaking at CCN Live 2021 which is sponsored by Refrigerants Australia.

Stop Food Waste initiative known the Australian Food Pact, will help to reduce cold chain issues such as food waste and spoilage.

The Australian Food Pact is the latest addition to the arsenal of projects and R&D working to halve the country’s food waste by 2030. Simplot Australia, Woolworths Group, Goodman Fielder and Coles Group are four of the founding signatories, joined by Mars Australia, Mondelēz Australia, ARECO Pacific, and McCain Foods.

The Australian Food Pact follows proven successful voluntary agreements that tackle food waste following the food waste hierarchy – preventing food waste in the first place, donating good food, and supporting food chain transformation and innovation.

It will operate from “farm to fork” across the Australian food industry. It will encompass primary production, processing, manufacturing as well as wholesale, retail, hospitality, institutions, and households.

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