Steps to automate temperature recording and reporting help meet key food safety concerns.
A recent blog on the Food Safety Tech website featured predictions by former Chief Medical Officer at the US FDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Dr. David Acheson. The piece presents five prediction for 2014 Food Safety. Link to Blog With his insight into the workings of the FDA, Dr, Acheson offers a first look at likely FDA actions in 2014. These include:
1. FSMA Final & Proposed Rules will be pushed for completion
2. Poultry Modernization Act Pressure to reduce high levels of bacteria on raw chicken
3. More Recalls
4. More calls for GMO & Nano labeling
5 Other - expanded focus on front of package labeling and more stringent requirements on heavy metals (lead, cadmium), especially in imported foods.
Due to the publicity that food safety problems garner, many of the issues above are key in the minds of consumers, and therefore need to be considered seriously. For example, an October 2013 Los Angeles Times editorial titled Keeping Salmonella out of Chicken made headlines when the piece pointed out that Sweden has virtually eliminated salmonella in store bought chicken and that a 2010 Consumers Union study found no salmonella in the organic store-brands chicken tested (Link to Editorial). The editorial's note that one particular outbreak was from antibiotic resistant strains and led to a call for tighter regulation and reduced antibiotic use. The industry’s response that thorough cooking will kill the bacteria does little to stem the adverse publicity and potential liability from such outbreaks. Dr. Acheson ties such events to his prediction for more recalls in 2014.
December 2013 CDC Salmonella Heidelberg Contaminated Chicken Case Count (CDC Link)
Certainly producers of chicken as well as other meat, fish, dairy and produce can improve their operations to reduce such outbreaks. The question is whether or not they will take the initiative to show proactive approaches to reducing bacterial contamination or weather another storm of headlines accompanied by a drop in consumer purchases of suspect problems and the resultant lawsuits that always follow. The FDA is looking at this issue closely and proactive measures can help in arriving at practices and regulations that meet both consumer and producer needs.
One such proactive approach for the poultry industry is to monitor breeding area temperatures to insure the animals are kept at temperatures that promote health and reduce bacterial growth. Temperature@lert’s WiFi and Cellular Edition devices have been deployed in numerous breeding houses with good results. While temperature controls take care of cooling and heating needs they are not infallible; these systems can and do fail. And if temperatures climb too high on hot, humid days, all the fans in the world will not be enough to keep the poultry safe. Temperature@lert’s devices alert growers to the dangers before they cause serious harm by sending email, text and voice messages to managers when problems arise.
Chicken Farm (Link to National Geographic); Processing Plant (Link to Pine Manor Farms)
Quick responses can be the difference between sick or injured birds and healthy ones at medium and large commercial chicken grower sites. Keeping temperatures from reaching extremes can help prevent rapid bacterial growth. Likewise, processing plants are at risk of contamination when temperatures rise promoting the growth of bacteria. This is why major chicken growers have deployed Temperature@lert’s Cellular Edition alerting devices coupled with secure cloud based data collection, storage and alert reporting offers a fault tolerant solution for times when site power or HVAC systems are malfunctioning. Temperature@lert’s proprietary Sensor Cloud can send text, voice and phone alerts to insure responsible personnel are aware of problems when they occur, day or night, holidays or weekends, and growers can get a good nights sleep because they know their chickens are safe.
Cellular Edition (Left) and optional ZPoint Wireless Network Sensor Module (Right)
Temperature@ert’s WiFi, Cellular and ZPoint product offerings linked to the company’s Sensor Cloud platform provides a cost effective solution for organizations of all sizes. The products and services can help bring a laboratory or medical practice into compliance with minimum training or effort. For information about Temperature@lert’s Cellular and SensorCloud offerings, visit our website at http://www.temperaturealert.com/ or call us at +1-866-524-3540.
Dave Ruede, Well-Versed Wordsmith
Dave Ruede, a dyed in the wool Connecticut Yankee, has been involved with high tech companies for the past three decades. His background in chemistry and experience in a multitude of industries such as industrial chemicals and systems, pulp and paper, semiconductor fabrication, data centers, and test and assembly facilities informs his work daily. Well-versed in sales, marketing, management, and business development, Dave brings real world experience to Temperature@lert. When not crafting new Temperature@lert projects, Dave enjoys spending time with his young granddaughter, who keeps him grounded to the simple joys in life. Such joys for this wordsmith include reading prize winning fiction and non-fiction. Although a Connecticut Yankee, living for a decade in coastal California’s not too hot, not too cold climate epitomizes Dave’s favorite temperature, 75°F.