To celebrate World Refrigeration Day on 26 June, United Nations Environment Program OzonAction, Chefs4thePlanet, and Global Food Cold Chain Council are partnering to explain cooling’s essential role in protecting human health and the planet. The Cooling Keeps Food Fresh campaign will describe why cooling is necessary for food safety and how it supports nutritious diets that sustain our health, help reduce food loss and waste, and protect the environment.
Leading chefs from around the world have signed on to the campaign. They will describe how cooling is necessary for their locally inspired cuisine. The chef’s recipes will be accompanied by tips educating consumers on the cooling choices they can make in their home to save money, prolong the life of products, and understand how food waste and loss contribute to climate change.
Bacteria exist everywhere in nature. They are in the soil, air, water, and in the foods we eat. In favourable temperatures, they grow rapidly, increasing in numbers to the point where some types of bacteria found in food can cause illness. Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 4.4 and 60 °C (40 and 140 °F), the “Danger Zone,” some doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes. But the cooling provided by refrigerators in our homes and restaurants slows bacterial growth, thereby keeping foods safe after they are brought home from the market or stored after preparation.
The contributions of cooling to our health and the environment extend much further, however. Freezing allows fruits and vegetables to be picked at peak ripeness, often frozen within hours, locking in nutrients and flavour. And cooling reduces one of the largest contributors to climate change, the emission of greenhouse gases from food that is lost due to spoilage and waste. Reducing food loss would both feed greater numbers of undernourished people and advance climate protection. In addition, the wise selection and operation of cooling technology contributes significantly to protection of ozone layer and climate change combat.
“Cooling matters. And keeping food safe is one example of that,” said Steve Gill, the founder of World Refrigeration Day echoing World Refrigeration Day’s 2022 theme, Cooling Matters. “Cooling is at the very heart of modern life. And the importance of cooling to the global food chain and sustaining human life on our planet cannot be overestimated.”
Cooling Keeps Food Fresh
Cooling’s significance is sometimes taken for granted by governments, end-users, and the public. “Cooling makes so many important contributions to our society, with direct connections to lives, livelihoods, health, nutrition and environmental protection. Besides its main purpose of keeping food fresh and safe to eat, your refrigerator can also be an agent of change to help solve environmental challenges such as preserving Earth’s ozone layer, fighting climate change, and promoting energy efficiency,” said Jim Curlin of UNEP’s OzonAction Law Division. “You may not recognise it, but the refrigerator-freezer in your house or your favourite restaurant is a superstar that has a huge impact far beyond the kitchen. The Cooling Keeps Food Fresh campaign seeks to motivate the public to learn about the myriad benefits of cooling.”
Leading Chefs join campaign
Central to the campaign is the support of world-renowned chefs who belong to Chefs4thePlanet. Anne Le More and Sebastien Ripari are the organisation’s cofounders.
Faced with the triple emergencies of climate change, pandemics and social inequalities, Chefs4thePlanet is an international community of chefs from around the world who are concerned about the impact of food on our planet and our health. “At a time when each day we increasingly exceed our planetary boundaries, and agriculture produces about a quarter of global greenhouse emissions, feeding ten billion people in 2050 will require the systemic transformation of our food system. Chefs as role models and influencers have a key role to play,” said Anne Le More.
During the campaign, chefs representing various regions of the world will deliver video messages, reinforcing their commitment to maintaining a planet sustainable for human life and describing how cooling contributes to day-to-day cooking and their kitchens’ operations. “Alternative proteins as well as seasonal, local and plant-based ingredients are becoming more and more important in gastronomy, and cooling will continue to be essential,” added Sebastien Ripari.
Sustainable cold food cold chain
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, the contribution of food waste emissions to global warming is almost equivalent to global road transport emissions. If it were a country, food waste would be the third largest emitting country in the world. “Industry can facilitate the reduction of food waste and its negative environmental impact by promoting greater access to food preservation technology and promoting the development and utilisation of cost-effective, energy-efficient equipment with reduced environmental impact,” said Juergen Goeller, co-chair of the Global Food Cold Chain Council and director of Regulatory Affairs for Carrier Refrigeration. “A sustainable food cold chain will be an economic, social and environmental net-positive.”
To learn more about World Refrigeration Day “Cooling Keeps Food Fresh,” visit www.worldrefrigerationday.org