Changes in temperature can alter the chemical integrity of a large variety of products; that along with a myriad of variables can lead to speedy ripening, the proliferation of aggressive substances, oxidation, and a host of other factors. But there are very specific items that are most vulnerable to spoilage if their ideal temperature is not maintained properly. So, aside from careful and special handling during production or manufacturing, proper storage and distribution are also strictly advised.
When it comes to proper storage and distribution, the right packaging is required not only to completely seal in temperature-sensitive products and prevent interaction with potentially contaminating elements but also to maintain the ideal temperature that will preserve the original quality of the products whilst in transit. Typically, temperature controlled packaging consists of several items including an outer shipper, inner polyurethane foam insulated box, gel bricks and gel packs and foam sheets, which together create a temperature controlled system validated for specific temperatures and time frames.
For cold chain packaging which is used for drugs and biological elements, insulating materials are polyurethane and Styrofoam with polyurethane being deemed as the better option because it can maintain original temperatures for up to 4 days. Meanwhile, for frozen goods, frozen gel bricks are commonly used to keep the good in the right temperature throughout transport. As for chilled products, chilled gel packs that are commonly included in the coolers. All these make sure that the content arrives at its destination in good condition despite exterior climate. Among the items that require temperature controlled packaging are the following:
1. Vaccines and serums;
2. Medicines that are still undergoing research and clinical trials, hence, maintaining their original composition is critical to the successful outcome of the study;
3. Blood samples for transfusion or study. Maintaining ideal cool temperature for them is crucial because studies show that plasma zinc concentrations increase 6.3 per cent at 1 hour and 40.7 per cent at 24 hours, whereas serum zinc concentrations increased at 0.9 per cent at 1 hour and 12.5 per cent at 24 hours in uncontrolled temperatures;
4. Organs for transplant because they are deprived of oxygen blood supply the moment they are removed from the donor but placing them in the right temperature controlled container or packaging automatically restricts the amount of damage that can occur;
5. Biological specimens;
6. Certain food products that are frozen, raw and not endemic to the area;
7. Artwork for transport;
8. Old documents (with deteriorating ink and parchment that are not only sensitive to temperature but humidity as well) for transport. These are all very important items that are so vulnerable to temperature changes, but with the right temperature packaging they are preserved to serve their great purpose.