Ice Cream and the Importance of the Cold Chain

Whenever the movement of temperature-sensitive products takes place from warehouse to warehouse or warehouse to retailer, several elements along the chain must be perfectly dialed in to reduce the odds of lost product. Handling different items can be tricky, as certain products must remain cold but not freeze, while others may have to stay precisely around freezing.

Certain products must remain deep-frozen with no chance to approach the freezing point and soften. For example – certain produce must remain chilled but never freeze. Ice cream, however, must maintain a temperature well-below freezing and never cross the softening threshold and back to frozen.

This isn't just vital for the quality of the product – it's a health and safety concern.

IICA Standards for Ice Cream

If you weren't aware, an authority exists regarding the quality and safe storage of ice cream products for transporters, manufacturers, and retailers. The International Ice Cream Association (IICA) provides circulatory content consisting of the safe transport and housing of ice cream and other frozen treats to help the organizations mentioned above offer top-of-the-line products.

According to the IICA, stored products should never hit a temperature warmer than -20° F. However, some fluctuations are permissible that take place along the "cold chain."

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The Cold Chain

The cold chain is the supply line in which ice cream or a frozen product travels to reach the hands of a consumer. Ice cream maintained properly throughout the cold chain has 12 to 24 months of shelf life.


Ice cream will leave the facility at a temperature of -5° F. to prevent the growth of ice crystals.

Transporting Ice Cream

From manufacturer to cold storage and then cold storage to the retailer, products should be safely maintained at -13° F. Any receiver at cold storage warehouses should always check the truck's temperature.

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Cold Storage of Ice Cream

To safely maintain short-term storage of products along the cold supply chain, cold storage lockers must keep the product at -18° F.


Retail shelves must maintain these products at a temperature of -8° F. in their coolers and no more than -4° on the top rack of the cooler.

About Interstate Cold Storage

Interstate Cold Storage is a leader in cold storage, shipping, and distribution, with a network of facilities strategically located across the Midwest. For over 40 years, the family-owned company has been committed to providing cost-effective refrigerated services as well as outstanding customer service and logistical support to carriers. Among IARW members, Interstate Cold Storage ranks among the largest 25 public cold storage warehousing companies in North America, with five locations and nearly 22 million cubic feet of refrigerated space. Qualified staff and modern facilities enable us to handle all your needs, from standard warehousing to the most extensive and customized long-term storage programs. Our multiroom locations comprise a network offering temperature ranges from -13°F to +35°F, providing the flexibility of multiple rooms and set points to accommodate your specific needs.

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