When commercial freezers form ice crystals on frozen food, this is a sure sign of freezer burn. You can expect those consumables to have a compromised flavor, aroma, and possibly even food safety issues. Commercial and walk-in freezers should be icy cold, but ice crystals or frost on food, packages, and/or the freezer's interior walls are a bad thing.
Here we will examine the cause of frost buildup in commercial freezers, the dangers to foodservice industries, and how this costly and undesirable effect can be eliminated.
How Frost Buildup Occurs in Commercial Freezers
The first reason is an inefficient refrigeration system. If warm air is not quickly replaced with colder air, then the warm air creates a layer of frost on interior surfaces. This frost formation also causes the freezer's compressor pumps to work harder and longer in an attempt to keep the system running at thermostat settings.
Another cause of frost buildup includes an improperly sealed refrigerator or freezer door. This allows warm air to enter the freezer and combine with the cool air to create a layer of frost. But even with good seals, the hot air that rushes in when a freezer door is open during the hot summer months can cause an inferior freezer system or an inefficient compressor to produce frost.
And finally, commercial kitchens are typically hot and humid environments. The steam from cooking and washing dishes can produce moisture in the air and condensate on surfaces. When this vapor turns into liquid and finds its way into freezer units, it can cause frost on evaporator coils.
Freezer Burn Dangers to Food and Profit
Throwing away otherwise good food due to freezer burn is expensive. And, foodservice operators can expect the same losses in profit and reputation as shown when food is stored in a refrigerator system that is too warm. Instead of spoiled product, the result is freezer-burnt food with a negative texture and taste.
While freezer burnt food is edible, it is not advisable for the health or retention of your customer base. Here are four ways frost buildup can affect food quality and safety:
Odor - damaged food will give off a distinct smell when the freezer door is opened
Flavor - cooked food will be dry and taste flavorless or unpleasant
Discoloration - raw chicken will feature dark spots and red meat will turn gray or brown
Texture - due to food dehydration and oxidation, food texture will be shriveled or leather-like
Freezer Technology that Reduces Frost Buildup
To safeguard frozen food quality, reputation, and profits, commercial chillers and freezers must be depended upon to reduce interior temperatures at a rate faster than a conventional freezer. This is required to preserve the food’s texture and flavor, as well as safely and quickly lower the temperature through the danger zone (40°F - 140°F), which, if failed to do so, can promote bacteria growth and compromise food safety.
Consider Thermo-Kool, a trusted leader in commercial refrigeration that manufacturers blast chillers that will effectively reduce the core temperature of cooked foods from 165°F to 37°F within two hours. And for the fastest path to frozen food, Thermo-Kool's shock freezing technology quickly lowers food temperature from 165°F to 0°F within four hours.
Thermo-Kool technology will also safely thaw frozen foods overnight with an optional thaw cycle that alternates warm and cold, fan-driven air. The defrost temperatures keep food safe between 35°F to 50°F until fully thawed.
Not only can your fresh and frozen foods be kept at a higher quality level for longer periods of time, but you will also be preserving the flavor and aroma characteristics of your food inventory. And when food is blast chilled, it has a longer shelf life, with less food weight loss. This allows for more menu choices and more productivity from batch recipes.
Sick of frost buildup issues in your foodservice facility? Get a free assessment of your commercial freezer system with the experts at Thermo-Kool by clicking below.