We hope you’re staying warm and surviving our recent snow as we take a little break from the norm and provide a few quick updates on various cold storage topics of interest.
Pfizer freed from deep-freeze
The Food and Drug Administration announced this week that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine no longer needs to be stored at extreme cold temperatures until doses are given to patients, clearing the way for the vaccine to shipped and stored at standard freezer temperatures for up to two weeks.
Previous requirements mandated that Pfizer’s drug be stored at around -94°F (-70°C) until just prior to administration, when it could be stored at refrigerated conditions for up to five days.
All eyes on cold chain industry
Investors and innovators are paying close attention to cold storage and the cold chain industry with the need to keep vaccine temperatures low during shipping and storage. A recent report in The New York Times states that Wall Street has taken sudden notice of companies connected to the cold chain — particularly ones used to store and transport medicines — and investment activity has been brisk with investors hoping to turn a profit.
Facilities around the world are being prepared for cold storage of vaccines, and NPR reports that companies are pouring money into cold chain options, with United Parcel Service creating banks of low-temperature freezers they’re calling “freezer farms” to hold doses marked for distribution.
Protein and poultry stocks dropping
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent report on cold storage stock shows poultry being down for the third consecutive month. Pounds of beef were down, while just pork and pork bellies showed higher month-over-month numbers among proteins. But pork and pork belly numbers were down 26 and 56 percent respectively compared to last year’s numbers.
According to Foodmarket, the poultry drop caused the amount of chicken in cold storage to reach the lowest seasonal level since 2017. And the drop in protein, particularly chicken, in inventory-related supply is being attributed to a drop in food service demand, causing headwinds for companies like Americold, one of the few publicly traded companies in the industry.