FCC Facilitates Updating of Safety Standards for Commercial Refrigeration

Standards ensures the safety and quality of products which is crucial in terms of introducing innovations and new technology and integrating industries into the global value chain. 

The country’s thrusts in developing cold chains present an opportunity to leapfrog into  energy-efficient and climate-friendly technologies which would deliver more economic, environmental, and health benefits. Climate-friendly cold chains uses refrigerants that has low to zero Global Warming Potential (GWP) and would help the country’s pledge to the Montreal Protocol and Kigali Amendment. However, there is a need to strengthen the policy environment in anticipation of the entry of the said products in the market. 

The Global Partnership for Improving the Food Cold Chain in the Philippine (FCC) project promotes the adoption of the latest standards as it identify, develop and stimulate the development of low-carbon, energy efficient refrigeration innovation technologies and business practices in the Philippines for use throughout the food cold chain whilst increasing food safety and security. FCC Component 1 covers the facilitation of improving safety standards through a policy and regulatory assessment that resulted in the following policy recommendations:

1) Standards for low-GWP refrigerants

  • Updating of PNS IEC 60335-2-89 version 3.0
  • Support for adoption of the PNS IEC 60335-2-89 version 3.0 in accreditation processes of cold storage facilities 

2) Energy efficiency

  • Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for cold storage warehouses
  • Minimum energy efficiency performance for products (MEPP) – commercial refrigerating appliances

3) Other policy instruments

  • Incentives for energy efficiency projects may also be linked with low-GWP refrigerant technologies through the CREATE Law and Strategic Investment Priority Program (SIPP)
  • Inclusion of environmental management aspect (e.g. disposal/capture/recycling of refrigerants), ensuring subsidies for low-GWP and energy efficient technologies in the Philippine Cold Chain Industry Roadmap 
  • Explore synergies with national climate change action plan, nationally determined contribution (NDC) targets, national cooling plan

In terms of the safety standards, FCC project facilitated the updating of the PNS IEC 60335-2-89 which increases he charge limit of natural refrigerant from 150g to 500g. The standard covers reach in cabinets, bottle coolers, serve over cabinets, multi-deck cabinets and ice cream freezers, among others. Published in June 2022, this standard removes the barrier for natural refrigerant technologies when it comes to regulation. In the past years, there have been a rise in the number of technological innovations on the cold chain seeking to address its carbo footprint. Most of these technologies have been widely tested and considered mature for mainstreaming into the market. 

As international standards bodies adapt with the rate of technological advances in refrigeration by updating their guidelines, regular and timely updating of these standards should be given priority to avoid ease regulatory barriers and ensure the safety and quality of products that will be sold in the local market. The updating of the said standard serves as a precedent for more to come, as the cold chain industry shifts to being more “green”.