The performance of corrugated packaging is adversely aﬀected by moisture. Condensation saturates the board which then becomes distorted, extremely soft and susceptible to tearing and other damage. When cartons are stacked and refrozen - consequent ice bonding results in the tearing of the cartons when the stacks are broken down.
The follow guide has several considerations for chilled products when packaging and exporting in corrugated boxes.
High compression strength is essential to protect meat from damage due to crushing in stacks in chillers, cold stores and freight containers. The carton strength must be retained under the cold, moist conditions experienced through the distribution chain.
There are a number of styles of chilled meat cartons available. Wet strength performance can be enhanced by paper type selection e.g kraft liners, heavier papers, or specially coated papers.
Double thick bases incorporating corner posts, suitable for hand or automatic machine forming assembly are generally used due to their leak proof design. Full depth lids are commonly glued on to provide additional strength and bulge resistence.
Storage, Loading & Transport Considerations
The following points require particular attention:
- Steps should be taken to prevent ingress of moisture into freezer stores via humid air.
- Frost should be brushed off cartons - it should not be allowed to melt.
- Loading should be prompt and doors should be kept closed whenever possible.
- Pallets of cartoned meat should not be held unrefrigerated any longer than necessary whilst awaiting loading into a container or truck.
- Cartons should not be subjected to repeated temperature changes.
- It is important that care be taken to fill the entire volume of the carton, not forgetting the corners.
- Cartons should be packed with minimum bulge so that they can be stacked squarely. The aim should be to produce a flat carton when hard frozen.
- Carton size should be optimised so that optimal container loading can be achieved with stacked cartons.
- Stretch or shrink wrapping is preferable to ropes for stabilising pallet loads and should be used wherever possible.
- Carton handling requires common sense and care at all stages. Poor carton handling practice and poor storage conditions will destroy even the best of cartons. The operation of the forklift needs particular attention.
- Wooden pallets must be in good condition, with no protruding nails.
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