Inside the frozen-food archipelago

Seventy percent of all the food you eat passes through an oft-overlooked system of refrigerated warehouses, factories, and trucks, writes Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic. That's not just the stuff you think of as "frozen food", either. Peanuts, for instance, are chilled. With photos and some judicious excerpts from Tom Wolfe novels, Madrigal introduces us to a world few of us have ever seen, but all of us are totally dependent upon.

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  1. You are more correct than you can imagine. Many refrigerated storage facilities implement a passive shifting strategy to their operations. They run the refrigeration systems hard at night, when electricity is cheaper and there is excess grid capacity, and then reduce or shut off the refrigeration capacity during the day. Its a cost saving strategy for them but also accomplishes what you are suggesting. Namely, they can make better use of wind and other renewable generation that occurs in the middle of the night.

  2. My ex-husband worked in a cold-food storage warehouse driving a forklift. His shop wasn't unionized. Which was obvious when the cooling system broke several times a year and leaked ammonia all over the place. They don't use freon in big warehouses, they use ammonia. They'd evacuate the workers into school busses and clean it up and then the fork-lift drivers would have to sort through the boxes of food (we're talking Alberta beef, raw chicken, 100kg bars of Callebaut chocolate) and try to sort out what had been contaminated and what had not, by sniffing it, in a warehouse that stank of ammonia, to see if smelt of ammonia. Terrifying.

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