Equipment & Technology

Automation Increases Food Safety in Labor-Saving OctoFrost Lines

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Frozen food products sold at retail stores are in great demand as the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the planet has resulted in the current closure of restaurants and other out-of-home foodservice outlets. This trend is expected to continue for some time, as more than 200 nations around the world mobilize to mitigate the spread of the deadly contagion. This means a continuation of home dining at a scope not seen in many generations.

“Food safety has become even more crucial,” points out a press release from Malmo, Sweden-headquartered OctoFrost, which specializes in manufacturing and marketing industrial freezers and IQF processing lines. “New inquiries require ‘no hand touch’ operation of processing lines. Processors are increasingly discussing investments in new IQF lines already for next the season due to expected growth in retail. We live in a different world today compared to how it was just three months ago.”

The release goes on to say: “If the cold chain is unbroken and modern equipment is used, quality is close to fresh. Out of season, there is only frozen to choose. Clearly, a winner in food safety is frozen food.”

OctoFrost IQF Processing Lines

Green vegetables, many fruits and raw seafood processed in OctoFrost lines are either fully blanched (+73°C to 85°C where water or steam always is well over +73°C) or flash-blanched with hot water to kill surface bacteria. The heat treatment is followed by swift chilling to capture a product’s natural texture and color attributes. Water temperature in OctoFrost rainfall chillers is 1-3°C, which is safe under the critical +6°C maintained in most refrigerators.

In cases where berries and other fruit cannot be blanched, a light chlorine treatment before freezing is well proven and accepted.

Nearly all products can be randomly fed to the line and are spread with a shaker or water flumes, or tedder for leafy products. This also means a significant savings in labor, as a complete line requires only two or three operators.

Three complete processing lines are offered:

Universal Vegetable Line

This configuration can handle most vegetables including herbs and spinach.

Asparagus Line

All belts are at the same level. Long and thin asparagus are transported through the freezer without any drop.

Shrimp Cooker, Chiller and Freezer Line

Complete with a weighing belt for even feeding, the line assures total temperature control to avoid overcooking and loss of valuable protein.