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'Chain of Thought' e-Newsletter

Welcome to the December 2010 edition of 'Chain of Thought' - FCI's e-Newsletter.

As the Australian Government advances the National Broadband Network project (with an initial budget of $43 billion, now decreased to $35.7 billion), it is timely to ask how rural communities and in particular, farmers, will take advantage of the NBN. The article entitled “Are Australian food chains ICT-ready?” discusses the readiness of farmers to adopt supply chain applications based on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The technologies analysed are farm enterprise resource planning (ERP); electronic commerce (e-commerce), digital pricing, RFID tracking, traceability and monitoring; and precision agriculture.

Our second article “Achieving temperature control and energy efficiency in the cold chain” discusses how systemic change of the cold chain sector for a low-carbon future could be achieved using a two-tiered approach. In the first tier, emphasis on preventive maintenance, review of refrigerated equipment standards, certification processes, food safety standards and maximum safe temperatures for cold chain management could be considered. In the second tier, the implementation of new energy labelling and MEPS in all links of the chain, the introduction of alternative refrigeration systems and the development of smart management systems is recommended. This article is a summary of an in-extenso paper presented by Silvia Estrada-Flores in the 1st IIR Conference on Sustainability and the Cold Chain (Cambridge, UK) this year.


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Happy reading and happy holidays!

Silvia Estrada-Flores

Principal Consultant


Newsletter Archive

January 2008-Adobe PDF icon Download (1.82Mb).

In our first issue we discuss the topic of co-innovation in the food industry. We also talk about traditional and new temperature monitoring technologies for the cold chain. Finally, we mention the top ten reasons why a cold chain fails.

April 2008 -Adobe PDF icon Download (0.79Mb).

This issue explores the environmental impact of food supply chains. Aspects such as “Food Miles”, carbon footprints, eco-labelling and other aspects are discussed, incudling how these issues are interconnected and how these affect food companies as a whole.

September 2008-Adobe PDF icon Download (1.32 Mb).

In this issue we explore the use of thermography as a predictive maintenance tool for cold stores and containers.Defects such as thermal bridges, airflow through gaps and damaged insulated sections can all be visualised through thermography.

January 2009-Adobe PDF icon Download (1.8 Mb).

In this issue we discuss the results of two thermographic surveys.The first case is an example of how even a well designed and well maintained facility can benefit from the results of a thermographic survey. The second case illustrates the use of thermography as a tool to decide when it is time to decommission a container that may be jeopardizing the integrity and safety of food products or unnecessarily increasing transportation costs.

March 2009-Adobe PDF icon Download (1 Mb).

In this edition we discuss the level of preparedness of the Australian food supply chains to face pandemic scenarios. Our second article discusses the effects of dirty evaporators on the performance of refrigeration systems. Cleaning evaporator coils can help to avoid potential food safety incidents. And what about energy efficiency?

December 2009-Adobe PDF icon Download (1 Mb).

This issue discusses the drivers of innovation in the fresh-cuts industry and some interesting trends such as mechanical harvesting, RFID-enabled traceability and irradiation as a technology to enhance food safety.

June 2010-Adobe PDF icon Download (1.2 Mb).

In this newsletter, we highlight the factors of importance in the maintenance of fruit and vegetable quality. We also discuss the increase in fresh produce related outbreaks in recent years. Finally, we illustrate the effect of quality losses in commercial operations, using a stochastic simulation to calculate potential wastage in value and volume.



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