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A commercial blast chiller/blast freezer, known also as flash freezer or shock freezer, is a piece of commercial refrigeration equipment that allows you to quickly lower the temperature of freshly cooked or raw food, bringing them to an ideal storage temperature in freezers or refrigerators. It allows both blast chilling, during which the core of the freshly cooked food is quickly brought to +3°C, and blast freezing, where the food core is brought to reach -18°C.
Flash freezing (also known as snap freezing or flash freezing) and blast chilling mean counteracting the bacterial load through the use of low temperatures, facilitating the storage of food and raw materials. Microorganisms and bacteria such as anisakis (a dangerous parasite present in fish meat) quickly multiply at temperatures between +8°C and +68°C (46,4° F and 154,4°F). Eating fish infected by these microorganisms can seriously harm your health. All catering activities, including those selling raw fish, have a legislative obligation to use blast chiller/blast freezers.
Generally a blast chiller/freezer is used:
The use of a blast chiller/blast freezer allows to extend the average life of food, preserving its organoleptic qualities and eliminating waste. Flash frozen foods maintain their original characteristics, properties and consistency over time.
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Inside the blast freezer/chiller, the food is subjected to very low temperatures, which can reach up to -40°C/ -104°F; this, combined with strong aeration, prevents the formation of water macro-crystals in favour of microcrystals that do not alter food structure and property.
Industrial blast chillers: regulations and obligation of use.
The use of blast freezers/ chillers is made mandatory by Community Regulations 852/2004 and 853/2004 to reduce food waste. If the restaurant supplies fish to be eaten raw, a 1992 law requires to keep the sushi at a temperature of -20°C/68°F for at least 24 hours before consumption.