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BFFF asks government to raise frozen food temperature

THE British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) has begun talks with the government about the possibility of increasing the frozen food storage temperature in an attempt to reduce the food industry’s environmental impact.
BFFF director general Brian Young opened preliminary discussions with DEFRA and food minister Lord Rooker at a meeting before Christmas.

As one of the major energy users, the food industry is coming under increasing pressure to reduce its environmental impact. The BFFF claims that a higher temperature for storage would greatly reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Current food safety regulations state that frozen food must be stored at -18°C or below. The BFFF is seeking to raise this to -15°C.

Speaking at the Federation's annual luncheon, president Stephen Waugh called for radical thnking to effect carbon reductions. 'The best example I can give is the absolute necessity to deliver products at -18ºC even though we know that food is safe at -5ºC and that, excepting ice cream, preserving quality generally is achieved at around -11ºC.

'How much carbon do we use freezing, storing and delivering product just to avoid ever having a load rejected because of temperature?,' he asked.

'We need in the short term to ensure we are all working at the right tolerances; in the medium term we need to build solid independent scientific evidence to be able to move regulators minds, perhaps a degree at a time, and in the longer term change custom and practice and hearts and minds towards slightly warmer temperatures'.

The BFFF maintains that although microbial growth stops below -5°C, it is common practice for frozen foods to be stored at temperatures as low as -25°C.

'The prize in reduced carbon usage could be enormous and is well worth pushing for,' he added.

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