The following measures help protect cargoes against biotic changes:
In practice, the changes do not occur in isolation, but rather as combinations of different causes and changes. The criterion of biotic activity, in interaction with the environment, is important for maintaining the quality of foodstuffs from the point of production to the end consumer.
- Prevention of mechanical injury
- Slowing of activity of microorganisms and animal pests and the metabolic processes of goods of vegetable origin by reducing temperatures (chilled and frozen storage, ventilation to remove heat); this constitutes temperature control, which allows the activity of goods of vegetable origin to be reduced by "dormancy temperatures" but necessitates the prevention of chilling damage (see Section 15).
- Hygroscopic goods and their packaging must be introduced into the container when container dry, i.e. with a water content which ensures an equilibrium moisture content in the container so as to prevent any substantial microbiological changes, such as mold and rot. If the goods enter the container with a "critical" water content, the product creates a correspondingly high equilibrium moisture content, at which microbial changes set in (mold growth threshold of φ 75%).
Water- and water vapor-repellent packaging (e.g. wet strength paperboard) should therefore be used, cases and pallets should not be made from fresh lumber, the issue of whether to use desiccants and so on (see Section 13.2.2).
- Protection from animal pests (see Section 13.12)
Foodstuffs, semiluxury items and animal feedstuffs are divided into four groups, according to this criterion (see Section 11.2). On the cargo information pages, each type of product is assigned to one of these biotic activity classes.