Dry chain

diagram showing fully dried products do not need cold storage if the "dry chain" is maintained, but that cold storage is critical for fresh produce.

What is the dry chain?

The concept of drying products and maintaining their dryness with hermetic storage is called the “dry chain.” Implementing the dry chain can prevent mold growth after harvest and during storage, reducing food losses and exposure to mycotoxins such as aflatoxin.

Similar to the cold chain, the dry chain requires that products be dried sufficiently and that dryness be maintained via packaging over the life of the product to prevent re-absorption of moisture from the atmosphere. Once dried and appropriately packaged, dried commodities don't require additional cost to maintain their quality and safety. Any break in the dry chain that allows products to re-absorb moisture can result in losses, quality problems or safety problems.

The dry chain is a useful concept particularly with regards to dried foods and seed. 

More information about the dry chain

Below are a collection of fact sheets, presentations, journal articles, posters and other information from the Horticulture Innovation Lab's network that further explain the dry chain and ways to implement the dry chain to improve food safety and quality.