Transportation of perishable and refrigerated foods in mylar foil bags and insulated containers: A time-temperature study

Yanyan Li, John P. Schrade, Haiyan Su, John J. Specchio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Data are lacking on the temperature changes of food during transport without the use of refrigerated trucks. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of several insulated and noninsulated containers with or without frozen gel packs to keep perishable and refrigerated foods within the temperature safe zone in relationship to duration of transport. The study was designed to duplicate the practices exhibited by customers purchasing perishable food products from a cash-and-carry business. Approximately 40 perishable food items were evaluated. Four types of containers were tested: a mylar foil bag, a commercial insulated bag, a generic insulated bag, and a commercial insulated blanket. Mixed foods were placed into these containers with or without frozen gel packs, transported in unrefrigerated vehicles, and monitored for 4 h for temperature changes. Two environmental temperatures, room temperature of 21.1°C and a stress temperature of 37.8°C, were evaluated. The internal temperature and surface temperature of the food products in these containers increased slowly but remained well below the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Code requirements. The various containers were similar in their ability to retain coolness. The presence of frozen gel packs dramatically enhanced the cold-holding capacity of the containers. The temperature of foods increased more rapidly when stressed in a heated environment. The containers tested used with the frozen gel packs can keep the surface and internal temperatures of various perishable foods (starting at 4.4°C or less) within the Food Code recommendation of under 21.1°C for 4 h. Cash-and-carry businesses should strongly encourage their retail customers to utilize these containers with frozen gel packs to safely transport perishable foods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1317-1324
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Food Protection
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


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