Refrigeration and chilling


Keeping your cool


Refrigeration and cooling sytems are crucial in the meat processing industry and the requirements are legislated by the Health Act and various other standards including HACCP and SANS.







Keeping products chilled or frozen in an abattoir or butchery is imperative to ensure food safety and to comply with the many food safety laws and regulations.


With the rising cost of electricity in South Africa, combined with our hot climates and poor building insulation, cost-effective solutions are increasingly in demand, particularly for walk-in refrigerators and processing areas, where maintaining the temperature in a large area can be challenging.

The National Health Act, Act 61 of 2003 amended to ( The National Health Amendment Act 12 of 2013) in the requirements as set out in the Regulation R918 – https://www.ehrn.co.za/download/reg_food.pdf prescribes that all food specified must be kept at a core temperature as described in the table below during the storage, transport or display thereof and specifies that no food shall be sold if the core temperature thereof is higher than the required core temperature or the surface temperature thereof is more than 2°C higher than the required core temperature.




In addition, “every chilling and freezer facility used for the storage, display or transport of perishable food shall be provided with a thermometer which at all times shall reflect the degree of chilling of the refrigeration area of such facility and which shall be in such a condition and positioned so that an accurate reading may be taken unhampered.”



Likewise, the Red Meat Regulations within the Meat Safety Act (Act 40 of 2000)  requires that:


• The air temperature of a room where meat is cut and packed must be maintained at or below 12°C.
• During cutting, wrapping, portioning and packing the core temperature of unfrozen meat must be maintained at or below 7°C.
• Meat that is packed for freezing must be placed in a freezer within one hour of being packed. The freezer must be capable of reducing the temperature of the meat to at least minus 12°C within 24 hours and must thereafter be maintained at or below that temperature.
• Frozen meat may not be dispatched at core temperatures higher than minus 12°C.


Complying with HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) requirements also guides butcheries in terms of the refrigeration and freezing standards. HACCP requires that critical hazard points are identified along every stage of food production, processing or preparation, and that the related risks are assessed, and effective control procedures are implemented. Of course, meat that is not kept at the right temperature is a significant hazard, and there are several control points where the risk of not maintaining the correct temperature is significantly increased.




These include delivery, storage, processing, packaging and display. As just one brief example, when receiving fresh meat, it should be checked that the food products comply with the required temperatures, using a temperature probe. These temperatures should be recorded on a HACCP Temperature Control Sheet, along with the time of delivery and the time of storage. The meat should be stored at 3 – 5ºC within 10 minutes of removal from the delivery vehicle. The same applies to frozen goods, but these must be stored at -18ºC within 10 minutes of removal from the delivery vehicle.


In terms of the storage, the temperature of the products, as well as efficiency of the refrigeration equipment, should be monitored continuously, whether a cold room, a processing room or a display cabinet. In addition, monitoring the shelf life of products is critical – for example, in a frozen state, hamburger patties have a shelf life of three months, but bacon has a shelf life of just one month.

The SANS 10049 (SABS 10049: 2019) code of practice covers provisions for the hygienic handling of food. Complying with the requirements of this code will go a long way in complying with the prerequisite programs required by HACCP. The SANS 10330 : 2020 – Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Systems contains the requirements for a HACCP system for the development, implementation and effective management of a functional process hazard control program.




In addition to these regulations, maintaining the right temperature is good practice and will reduce costs by minimising wastage. “Good temperature control will reduce bacterial growth and improve shelf-life”.


Recommendations that exceed the regulatory requirements:

• Refrigerate trimmings immediately and bring temperature down to 0-2°C
• Processed products should be handled as quickly as possible and refrigerated without delay
• Temperatures in cutting areas should not exceed 10°C
• Refrigerator temperatures should never exceed 3°C
• Always arrange the cold rooms on a “first in-first out” basis


In the hot South African climate, adhering to these regulations and suggestions are a tall order indeed. It highlights the fact that butcheries and meat processors simply cannot make the grade without the assistance of reliable and reputable companies that specialise in providing refrigeration solutions to the industry.


For the industrial freezing of food blast freezing, contact freezing and cryogenic freezing are used.




Blast freezing in a tunnel is suitable for a wide range of goods – packaged and unpackaged, and regularly or irregularly shaped. Contact freezing is mainly used for the freezing of block items. The cryogenic method involve products to be frozen being dipped into liquid nitrogen (-196 °C) or liquid carbon dioxide (-78 °C). Cryogenic freezers have an extremely fast freezing rate.


It is crucial that a butcher partners with a company that not only has the best, reliable equipment, but will be able to provide the butcher with information and advice that will allow them to make the right decision regarding the appropriate chilling and freezing technology, taking factors such as cost and practicality issues within the butchery into account.



Fortunately, there are many refrigeration, cooling and freezing solutions providers who have proven their mettle in the industry and are making it possible for butcheries and meat processors to comply with the regulations and reap the benefits of having efficient and effective cooling systems to ensure food safety and maximum shelf-life, while also reducing operating costs and wastage.



Matador Refrigeration


Matador provides commercial refrigeration solutions and industrial refrigeration plant to the hospitality and retail industry.


Over the last five decades we have researched and sourced the worlds best methods and equipment to ensure we provide our clients with the very best in environmentally friendly, energy saving refrigeration installations.





Our refrigeration installation, engineering and maintenance services provide you, our client, with the very best in:


Refrigeration plant, Blast chillers (blast freezers), Cold storage facilities and walk-in cold rooms, Biltong dryers, Hot water reclaim systems, Refrigeration control systems, Commercial refrigeration compressors, Multi-compressor refrigeration systems, Refrigerant, ”Green” refrigeration systems, Any other specialized refrigeration requirements. We specialize in using natural refrigerants (CO2) in our state of the art refrigeration plants.



Air Liquide


Food safety is at the core of our offer. Air Liquide has been a pioneer in developing food-grade gases and complying with international and local safety regulations


Freezing and chilling


Cryogenic freezing and chilling brings significant advantages compared to mechanical technologies such as enhancing natural taste while minimizing dehydration. Air Liquide’s Nexelia™ for Freezing & Chilling all-in-one solution includes ALIGAL™ gases, proprietary cryo equipment and application expertise. Our field experts always know when performance and quality can be improved by our freezing and chilling solutions.


Temperature control


Temperature control is a chilling process that maintains a certain temperature during the processing, storage and shipping of food products. Air Liquide’s Nexelia™ for Temperature Control all-in-one solution includes ALIGAL™ gases, proprietary cryo-injectors and years of application expertise. Our field experts know how to combine enhanced product quality with continuous improvement of the chilling costs.


Cold transportation


Controlling the temperature inside trucks during transportation from the factory to the supermarket is of critical importance in safeguarding the quality of the products being transported. Air Liquide’s cryogenic solutions, Carbofresh™ and blueeze™, ensure the integrity of the cold chain in a safe, silent and environmentally friendly manner.


Dale Automation


One company that certainly stands out in this industry is Dale Automation, who from humble beginnings has grown into the leading supplier of spiral freezers to the food industry.


Spiral Freezing:


Dale Spiral Freezers are designed around a concept familiar to the food process industry incorporating standard equipment, which is well proven in continuous production. However, design changes have been instituted in the construction of the conveying system to improve accessibility, flexibility, mechanical performance and hygiene.


Airflow design and evaporator selection has also been revised to enhance product freezing and product weight loss, Dale Spiral freezers have quickly gained a reputation in the industry for achieving product core temperatures in given retention times.


Dale’s own Blue Belt is being used more and more in the industry and is preferred these days over using stainless steel belting. Both heavy and light products which are either packaged or raw can be frozen on plastic belt depending upon the type of belt selected.


Belts can be fitted with unique lane dividers to keep products apart or to transport different products at the same time through the spiral from and onto separate conveyors. 75% of spirals supplied by Dale, have Dale’s own Blue Belt plastic modular belts installed on them and we are proud to have it installed on two of the biggest spiral freezers in the Southern hemisphere with through puts of 7.5 and 8 tons an hour of IQF chicken.


With spiral systems installed in South Africa, the UK, Botswana, Swaziland and Australia, Dale has achieved their vision to become a world leader in both the poultry and baking industries. The company has been acknowledged in the poultry industry as the manufacturer of the best spiral freezer in South Africa.


Air Products


Cryogenic Freezing – Faster freezing for higher product quality


Liquid nitrogen and CO₂ offer a cost-effective alternative to traditional methods of food freezing and chilling. They allow the processing of larger quantities faster, while occupying significantly less floor space.


Air Products’ Freshline® freezing solutions are designed for a variety of batch or continuous freezing processes. You’ll find that their innovative design makes them easy to clean and maintain, saving you both downtime and labor costs. Ask our experts for the best solution to meet your needs.


Whether your Modified Atmospheric Packaging (MAP), cooling, chilling or freezing applications include bakery goods, fruit and vegetables, poultry, meats, ready meals or anything in between, Air Products’ Freshline™ solutions offer you high-purity gases and equipment, international supply capability and – most importantly – unmatched industry experience and technical support to help you succeed, anywhere in the world.





Concord Refrigeration


As one of South Africa’s leading manufacturers of refrigerated and heated supermarket display cases, Concord Refrigeration has been providing retail cabinets for over 50 years. Since 1969, we have identified a need for our specialised services within the refrigeration and retail industry.


Our product range is designed to international standards, coupled with the latest trends and advancement in technology, resulting simply in a superior performance display case.


Our product range includes Chiller Display Cabinets, Freezer Display Cabinets, Self-Contained Display Cabinets, Low Multi Deck Cabinets, Hot Food Display Cabinets, Serve-Over Display Cabinets and Self-Service Display Cabinets.


Insulated Structures


Insulated Structures can assist and offer solutions for all your refrigeration requirements.


We offer a turnkey supermarket refrigeration solution; designing & installing state-of-the-art energy efficient refrigeration equipment. Our experienced team manages the entire process from sales through to manufacture, installation, commissioning and after-sales service.


The result is a commercial refrigeration system that reduces running costs and improves product shelf life. This ultimately leads to a superior shopping experience for your customers.


Cold Rooms and Freezer Rooms –


Insulated Structures tailor-makes it’s panels for a cold room in all shapes and sizes. This makes us the service provider of choice when facilitating the design and manufacture of cold and/or freezer rooms.


Coldsure / CDS


Our solutions are tailored to meet the unique needs of our small, medium and large clients across Southern Africa. Our solutions include refrigerated and non-refrigerated truck rental, warehousing, fleet maintenance and management, local and long distance deliveries and specialised staffing solutions.


Our extensive range of refrigerated trucks will ensure we can assist you with all your transportation needs – ranging from ambient, chilled and frozen goods.


Our clients are from different sectors, large, medium and small. Providing customised solutions and excellent customer service to our clients is priority. We consider every client we take on board to be a valued partner in our business.


Echo Coldrooms


Echo Cold Rooms started in March 1997 as a manufacturer and supplier of insulated panels. We occupy ±4500m2 factory and office space which is owned by our property company, owned by the same share holders.


Echo Cold Rooms will always endeavour to preferably avoid or at least minimize disruption and destruction of existing eco systems.


Echo Cold Rooms commenced in March 1997 as a manufacturer and supplier of insulated panels. We occupy ± 4500m2 factory and office space which is owned by our property company. Our earlier projects included cold and freezer rooms, cold stores, abattoirs and chicken houses in both South Africa and neighbouring countries.


By making use of our own transport, we ensure that all materials are delivered timeously and in pristine condition.


In order to promote and favour our panel manufacturing side, we decided to supply panels to refrigeration contractors and corporate clients. We therefore shifted our focus to manufacturing and construction of panels only.

Our factory has the capacity to manufacture 2000m2 panels per day, either insulated chromadeck panels, smooth, ribbed or IBR finishing, for utilization in a wide spectrum of applications by contractors in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zambia.


Echo panels are manufactured with a tongue and groove joint by using the most modern design equipment. The tongue and groove joint ensure thermal quality throughout your insulated cold and freezer room.



Natcool – 




Design and installation of refrigeration systems.
Service and maintenance of refrigeration plants and equipment.
Supply and installation of self contained Ice Makers and Under Bars Fridges.




Convention Centre’s / Casino’s.
Blast Freezers & Chillers.
Commercial Kitchens.
Hot Water Heat Pump Systems.
Energy Saving Electronic Retrofits. (to existing refrigeration.
Chocolate Holding Rooms.
Analyzing of existing refrigeration systems to optimize efficiencies.




Design and installation of refrigeration systems.
Engineering and installation of secondary and CO₂ refrigeration plants.
Service and maintenance of refrigeration plants andbequipment.
Supply and installation of self contained Ice Makers and Under Bar Fridges.




Colcab is an innovative, leading supplier and manufacturer of supermarket display cabinets, as well as associated refrigeration equipment.


Our cabinets are specifically tailored to the requirements of our customers, who range from independent retailers to corporate chain stores.


Our state-of-the-art under roof facility of 28 000 square meters is designed for efficient and effective production and embodies our company
philosophy – improvement and innovation.


Our philosophy ensures that the market is continually offered the highest quality product coupled with world-class customer service.


Just Refrigeration


Just Refrigeration has always prided itself on producing and supplying high quality refrigeration solutions to a discerning customer base and as such has built a solid reputation as one of South Africa’s top refrigeration manufacturers.


Our extensive product range includes beverage coolers, upright cabinets, island freezers, deli displays, cake and pastry cabinets, pie warmers, upright glass door merchandisers, and remote and self-contained underbar units.


Our Euroman division manufactures cooling equipment for coldrooms and large commercial installations. The range includes open type condensing units, wall mounting pack units, floor mounting pack units, a complete range of blower coils, parallel multiplex rack systems and remote air cooled condensers.


In the retail butchery environment, efficient cooling or freezing are also not the only considerations, but an attractive and hygienic display, that nevertheless maintains the right temperature, is also required.

Whatever your butchery’s specific needs to comply with the regulations, it is absolutely critical to investigate the many options available and to deal only with a reputable supplier that can provide solutions tailored to your requirements, cost-effective alternatives, and of course excellent after-sales service.



Leave a comment

Newsletter Subscribe

Please sign up to our newsletter and have the latest news, developments and innovations conveniently delivered to your inbox.


Follow Us