Validation study on new isothermal container for hot ready to eat food in catering establishments: Preliminary results
The production methods, in particular the cook-serve method, applied in high production catering establishments, even if inserted in a correct spatial design, it is affected by time-temperature flows characterized by inadequate designed moments during which critical points can be observed. The aim of this study was to evaluate, at a preliminary stage, how the new technologies can support the supply chain and production processes in catering establishments. To this end, a specific passive and active heat storage system was tested: “Polibox Smart Heater®” (PX SH), which makes an isothermal expanded polypropylene container an advanced maintainer for ready to eat food. The experimental design was divided into four different experiments, during which the functionality of the isothermal containers was evaluated, and thermal-tightness tests were carried out. The results showed that the PX SH containers, containing a heat accumulator, are temperature maintainers, which guarantee thermal stability (>65°C), according to the current standard (UNI EN 12571:1999). In conclusion, the production chain of catering establishments should use innovative technologies such as PX SH, in order to benefit from performance consistent with the safety, hygiene and sensory criteria.
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