Storing Fresh and Frozen Foods

The following article comes from Dependable Refrigeration, LLC.

Storage of Fresh Food in the Refrigerator

The air in a fresh food refrigerator is always quite dry. What moisture there is in the refrigerator tends to collect and condense on the evaporator surfaces. Therefore, food containers should be covered and as air tight as possible to keep food moist.

The temperature inside the fresh food cabinet should be kept at 35 to 45 degrees F. Most fresh foods may be kept from three days to a week at the above temperatures. Unfrozen meat and fish should be stored at as close to 32 degrees F as possible. Fruits and vegetables should be cleaned and prepared for the table before being refrigerated.

For Storage of Frozen Food in the Freezer

The air in a food freezer, as in refrigerator, is very dry. Any moisture in the air of the freezer quickly condenses on the evaporator coil surfaces. It is very important, therefore, that all frozen foods be packaged in moisture proof containers.

Think Custom. Think Cooler. NACS 2009

U.S. Cooler manufactures walk-ins with the customer in mind. We understand it is important to produce an affordable, quality, durable, and efficient product. U.S. Cooler specializes in custom sized walk-in coolers and freezers. All of our walk-ins are produced using the highest quality products and the most efficient insulation. Our custom walk-ins are competitively priced and have the shortest lead time in the industry.  U.S. Cooler has the technology and the capability to manufacture walk-ins to fit any size or configuration you are looking for. When you need custom, think U.S. Cooler. Come visit our booth, # 1863, at NACS in Las Vegas from October 21-23, 2009.

A custom cooler example.

Walk-in Saves Lives During Tornado

On Wednesday, August 19th, a tornado ripped through the village of Williamsville, IL leaving parts of the town a disaster with many home’s lost. One particular building that was in the direct path of the storm was a Casey’s General Store. When the storm rolled in, there were 9 employees and customers in the store. The entire front wall of the building was blown out leaving no shelter for the group in the store. Immediately they took cover in the walk-in cooler where they safely remained until the storm ended. After the storm, the only structure of the building still intact and left unharmed was the walk-in combination unit. Check with your local emergency center for the emergency plan that best fits your location.

Taken right after the tornado hit Casey's General Store in Williamsville, IL.
Taken right after the tornado hit Casey’s General Store in Williamsville, IL.
After store clean-up.
After the store clean-up.

Additional pictures of the damage.

U.S. Cooler is Now Leasing Walk-Ins

lease a walk-in refrigerator
A new walk-in will save you money in the long run but can have a large up-front cost.

Buying a walk-in cooler or freezer is a large expense for any business and not all companies have the cash flow available to purchase a walk-in outright. U.S. Cooler has another option for our customers. Leasing.

By leasing your walk-in, you avoid having to come up with the complete purchase price necessary to buy it outright. Instead, with leasing, the cost is spread out comfortably over a fixed period of time, and only a small initial down payment is required. Leasing removes the need for equity financing. It also allows you to acquire and use an asset without having to make a substantial down payment. Thus, minimizing the affect on your cash flow and working capital.

U.S. Cooler has partnered with Advantage Leasing to provide our customers with a financing program for their walk-in equipment. For more information on the program visit the leasing program page on our website or contact Advantage Leasing for details.

Walk-in Cooler & Freezer Leasing Literature:

Walkin Lease Application U.S. Cooler Lease Application pdf

dealer lease application Dealer Lease Application pdf

lease payment pdf file Lease Payment Calculator Excel Spreadsheet


Sharpen Your Bill of Lading, Pay Less in Freight

It used to seem like motor carriers would “look the other way” when it came to the way shippers filled out their bill of ladings.  As long as the freight class that went along with the description was “close to what they were shipping, the carriers never bothered with it.  However, now there is too much of an extra revenue source for the carriers to ignore these poorly filled out descriptions and have incentivized dock workers to capitalize on shippers who do not fill this out the proper way.

The biggest mistake people make when filling out a bill of lading is they simply put a basic description of the product like “plastic figurines”.  The problem is that plastic figurines are a density item according to the NMFC and can be classified at any class from a 70 to a 400 (which is a difference of about 250% in price).

What a Bill of Lading Should NOT Look Like

incomplete bill of lading

Without a classification number, the carriers have every right to bill out at a class 400 if “plastic figurines” is all they are given.  The proper way to describe this item on a bill of lading is to write a description which includes the NMFC issued number.  This is a perfect way to describe this item “Plastic Articles, NMFC #157320 Sub 8, Class 85.”

Elizabeth LaFleur, freight auditor for Logistics Management, Inc., says shippers will cut down on a lot of headaches if they followed this simple process.  LaFleur says, “When a carrier see’s a poor description, they red flag it and can classify it at a much higher class.  If the description on the bill of lading is vague, a lot of times there is nothing that can be done to fight it.  However, if the item number is on the bill of lading then there, is no problem.”

Not only can this be a hassle, the cost can be significant to a shipper.  The way it is nowadays in the freight world is if a shipper does not fill out their bill of lading accurately they get nailed not only with the difference in the freight class but also with a “Weight & Inspection” fee which can be as high as $30.00.

Recently I visited a prospect that was getting overwhelmed with Weight & Inspections from carriers.  They pulled their bill of ladings for me and on them was the description for “tools”.  There was two problems with this description.  First, “tools” is too vague of a description and second, they were actually shipping drive shafts and other engine parts for race cars.

Zero Ozone-Depleting FOAMULAR Extruded Polystyrene Insulation

Toledo, Ohio – Owens Corning (NYSE: OC), a global leader in building materials and energy efficiency solutions, today announced it has started manufacturing zero ozone-depleting FOAMULAR® Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) rigid foam insulation. The new blowing agent technology developed by Owens Corning meets the requirements of the Montreal Protocol which requires the phase-out of the hydrochloro-fluorocarbon (HCFC) 142b, an ozone-depleting compound, by January 1, 2010.

Owens Corning’s new Gresham plant is the first facility in the Western U.S. to meet the requirements of the Montreal Protocol and expands the company’s XPS foam production capabilities. The company also has converted its Rockford, Ill., insulation plant to use the new blowing agent, and all FOAMULAR products will meet the requirements of the conversion deadline.

owens corning insulation plant

“High performance homes and buildings are an ever-growing segment of the construction industry, and

How the NMFC Affects Your Business – Freight Class Chart

The NMFC has something to do with freight class. That is about all most of us know what the NMFC is all about. But it can’t hurt to know more what the NMFC is, who runs it, where does it come from, how do I get one, this article is for you! After this article, you will know exactly what the NMFC is and how it affects your business.

First off, the NMFC stands for National Motor Freight Classification. It is a guide used to classify all the commodities shipped and handled by motor carriers in North America.  The commodities are assigned one of 18 different classes – from a low of 50 to a high of 500 – based on four transportation characteristics:  density, stow-ability, handling and liability.

It also includes rules and packaging requirements for each type of commodity to ensure adequate protection for products moving in the LTL motor carrier service.

The NMFC constitutes industry standards which are developed and maintained by the National Classification Committee (NCC), an autonomous committee of 100 carrier representatives who are elected to represent the more than 1,000 motor carriers participating in the NMFC. The NCC’s activities are regulated by the US Surface Transportation Board which is part of the Department of Transportation (DOT).

The NMFC is published by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA), a nonprofit organization based in Alexandria, VA.

Defining Freight Class

Although, classes are determined by density, stow-ability, handling and liability, the biggest factor in determining the class is the density. The denser the commodity is, the lower the freight class. Always remember that!

Here is a “rule of thumb” we folks in the freight industry use to do a quick estimate to determine a particular freight class. Of course this should be backed up by the NFMC but you can a pretty accurate idea of a freight class by following this chart.


The first column shows the pounds per cubic foot (PCF). The second column shows freight class. So when the PCF is greater than the number in the first column, than the class will likely be the number in the second column.

PCF     Class
50        50
35        55
30        60
22.5     65
15        70
13.5     77
12        85
10.5     92
9         100
8         110
7         125
6         150
5         175
4         200
3         250
2         300
1         400
< 1     500

Article provided by Newgistics Freight Services

Contact Tim Walsh today for a FREE Freight Evaluation to see how much savings is available to your company!

Tim can be reached at or (908) 879-2940.

Own a restaurant? Tips to save time, energy, and money.

1. Make Your Menu More Efficient.

Are your menu items being prepped and cooked as efficiently as possible? Items that need to be thawed for daily food service can be defrosted in a refrigerator overnight instead of under running water reducing energy usage and conserving water. Review your menu to see if there are common ingredients or items that can all come from one source. Minimizing the number of individual deliveries you receive weekly will add to your conservation practices and reduce your delivery expenses as well as receiving time when you can be going in and out of cold storage using additional energy to bring it back to safe temperatures.

2. Switch to energy efficient light bulbs.

Subway recently switched all their light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs in all of their 2000 US franchise locations. Switching to an energy efficient light bulb can save up to $22 per bulb per year. This can add up to quite a savings over time. Also keep lights off when you don’t need them. If you don’t start serving lunch until 11 o’clock there is no reason to turn the dining room lights on until then.

Areas such as walk-in coolers or your dry store room don’t need to be illuminated all day long. Turning off lights as you leave typically unused areas is a great way to save money on your energy bill. Electrical timers can be used in these areas especially if they are commonly forgotten and left on overnight.

Higher efficiency bulbs can be used in areas that require constant lighting. Replace incandescent lights in your walk in cooler with fluorescent or LED lights which produce less heat and consume less energy. Replacing bulbs with higher efficient options will show a lower cost in your monthly bill.

3. Pre-cut and freeze many of the common vegetables you use in your restaurant or cafe.

slicing-veggiesOnions: Buy in bulk and on sale. Peel and slice or dice. Freeze one layer thick on a cookie sheet. When frozen transfer to plastic jars with screw on lids. Immediately put back in the freezer. Don’t forget to label the jars! When you need some onions in a cooked dish just shake out what you need. If they clump together shake really hard to loosen. Some of the ways we use frozen onions: sautéed or grilled on hamburgers, in omelets, in any dish that the customer asks for “extra onions” that will be cooked or at least heated.

4. Train your staff.

kitchen staff for restaurantTeach your staff to sort recyclables, turn off lights, and let you know if there is a leaky faucet in the wait station. Ask them to bring in their own take-home containers instead of using the restaurant take-outs.

Busy kitchen staff may often forget to do the simplest of energy efficient steps. Leaving oven doors open releases vast amounts of heat. Each time you open an oven door the temperature can drop by as much as 25o F.; watch the clock and use a timer instead. Don’t leave the convection oven or steamer door open too long or it will just continue to release heat, burning unnecessary energy to retain the proper cooking temperature.

The walk-in cooler is another door that needs to be shut at all times or cooling becomes a continuous energy pit. If doors such as the walk-in cooler are consistently left open, place spring hinges on the doors and it will automatically close, eliminating the opportunity for staff to forget to shut the door.