temperature@lert blog

  • Points To Monitor In Your Hotel: Introduction


    Imagine that you are the manager or owner of a popular hotel. As the person in charge, it's your job to make sure that every guest in your establishment is comfortable and content. Still, it wouldn't be a day on the job if you didn't find yourself addressing at least one complaint of an unhappy hotel guests, right?

    Why was the pool too cold for them to swim in? Why was the workout room kept at temperatures so hot that they couldn't even stand in it for five minutes without breaking a sweat, let alone go for a run? How come the grounds that were pictured lush and green online seemed like an obvious photoshop cover-up of the dead grass that covered the grounds? Or maybe the $20 burger and fries that was delivered to their room late night raised eyebrows when it was delivered cold and undercooked. Whether your guests are frequent travellers or treating themselves to a long overdue vacation, as the manager, you know it's the small attention to detail that can make or break your guests experience in your hotel. It takes more than just a smile and polite staff to accomplish guest satisfaction. But it can be a difference in as little as four degrees that can make your pool a paradise, your gym an escape, your grounds an oasis and your room service exemplary.

    When it comes to managing a hotel that guests will recommend to their friends and want to return to themselves, it's crucial to create an environment in which guests feel comfortable and taken care of. If you're a hotel owner or manager, you know that your guests’ satisfaction knows no hours and even when you aren't on the premises, you're always on the clock. There's so much to think about when it comes to ensuring guest comfort and at any moment your phone can ring with an emergency that requires immediate action. For example, how about a power outage? It's a big problem that will affect, not only the lights, but also everything from the refrigerators and freezers in your hotel kitchen to the temperature of the pool and hot tub to the maintenance equipment in your boiler room. 


    If you're a smart owner or manager, you understand very well the tremendous amount of monitoring considerations that managing a hotel property requires and you've been sure to take precautionary action and come up with effective aversion strategies for any and all of the curveballs that are thrown your way. Even in the midst of a power outage or some other uncontrollable disaster, the cautious and active hotel manager can ensure guest retention and satisfaction simply by making smart monitoring decisions.

    It's definitely not an exhaustive list, but there are some critical points that, if you’re a hotel owner or manager, you should seriously consider monitoring in order to take preventative measures should a disaster, like a power outage, occur. Not only can you save yourself a costly cleanup, but also you'll surely impress the guests that have travelled from all corners of the world to stay with you with your quick action. In fact, they may never even know that anything is wrong if you're able to avert disaster.

    Throughout this series, we'll show you how temperature and humidity monitoring at key points, specifically hotel pools and spas, workout rooms, kitchens, maintenance areas and the outside grounds, can only be beneficial in improving guest relations, building management procedures and energy efficiency. Making full use of automatic and continuous monitoring technologies is a smart, low-cost and easy way to hone in on guest-focused improvements that will put you ahead in the customer service and hospitality game. 

    Temperature@lert ebook


    Written By:

    Kate Hofberg, Epicurean Essayist

    Temperature@lert’s resident foodie from sunny Santa Barbara, Kate Hofberg, creates weekly blog posts, manages the content database, and assists with the marketing team's projects. Balancing a love for both the west and east coast, Hofberg studied at University of California Santa Barbara, where she received a Bachelors in Communications, and Boston University, where she is currently a Masters candidate in Journalism. Before coming to Temperature@lert, Hofberg trained in her foodie ways through consumption of extremely spicy, authentic Mexican food with her three brothers and managing a popular Santa Barbara beachside restaurant. Through her training and love of great food, she brings fresh methods of cooking up content. When Hofberg is not working on Temperature@lert marketing endeavors, she serves as a weekly opinion columnist for the Boston University independent student-run newspaper, The Daily Free Press. If time permits, Hofberg enjoys long walks, reading, playing with her cat, and eating pizza. Her ideal temperature is 115°F because she loves temperatures as hot and spicy as her food.

    Kate Hofberg

    Full story

  • HACCP Principle 6: Establish Verification Procedures

    HACCP Team nagging questions: But how do I know it works?


    Quality professionals know there are two types of procedures, Validation and Verification, to help insure products are what they say they are and that they are safe. The U.S. FDA defines them as follows. (Link to Source)


    Validation: That element of verification focused on collecting and evaluating scientific and technical information to determine if the HACCP plan, when properly implemented, will effectively control the hazards.


    Verification: Those activities, other than monitoring, that determine the validity of the HACCP plan and that the system is operating according to the plan.


    In my experience Validation is done when a product is being developed prior to its release to market. Verification tests the product to insure what is being shipped is what the Validation process has shown it to be, for example that a food product contains the ingredients in the amounts specified and other properties such as taste, color, texture, etc. are also within control limits defining the process, a person would feel comfortable feeding it to their family members. Without proper Validation before products ship the validation is done in the field at the customer’s location. This may be acceptable in certain instances, for example if the customer needs the product before it is fully validated in order to begin developing their product.  High tech companies often ship prototypes to developers to develop a new electronic device. In the food industry a supplier developing a new type of flavor agent or an additive may be asked to ship a pilot run with limited validation to a baker in order for the baker to try the product in their products to see if it is suitable for their process or to develop a new product. The product is not intended for sale to the consumer but may be if validation is complete and results acceptable.


    Russian Proverb: Доверяй, но проверяй

    Pronunciation: doveryai, no proveryai     Translation: Trust but Verify

    Verification Procedures as defined above do not include the monitoring of Critical Control Points and Critical Control Procedures as defined in the Monitoring Procedures. HACCP Verification Procedures are not quality testing at the end of the process since an effective HACCP plan is intended to be sufficient to eliminate hazards. Validation as applied to the HACCP process can be accomplished during regular reviews of the HACCP process to insure that the HACCP Plan is being followed correctly and to review CCP monitoring and corrective action records. The table below provides an example from the U.S. FDA regarding Verification Procedures. (Link Above) In this table Independent Expert(s) are defined as “other than those writing the plan” and may include “additional technical expertise as well as laboratory and plant test studies.”


    Activity

    Frequency

    Responsibility

    Reviewer

    Verification Activities Scheduling

    Yearly or Upon HACCP System Change

    HACCP Coordinator

    Plant Manager

    Initial Validation of HACCP Plan

    Prior to and During Initial Implementation of Plan

    Independent Expert(s)

    HACCP Team

    Subsequent validation of HACCP Plan

    When Critical Limits Changed, Significant Changes in Process, Equipment Changed, After System Failure, etc.

    Independent Expert(s)

    HACCP Team

    Verification of CCP Monitoring as Described in the Plan (e.g., monitoring of patty cooking temperature)

    According to HACCP Plan (e.g., once per shift)

    According to HACCP Plan (e.g., Line Supervisor)

    According to HACCP Plan (e.g., Quality Control)

    Review of Monitoring, Corrective Action Records to Show Compliance with the Plan

    Monthly

    Quality Assurance

    HACCP Team

    Comprehensive HACCP System Verification

    Yearly

    Independent Expert(s)

    Plant Manager


    US FDA Verification Procedures example.


    As in ISO quality processes, the FDA notes that, “a periodic comprehensive verification of the HACCP system should be conducted by an unbiased, independent authority. Such authorities can be internal or external to the food operation. This should include a technical evaluation of the hazard analysis and each element of the HACCP plan as well as on-site review of all flow diagrams and appropriate records from operation of the plan.” A review of the findings will be used to make changes to improve or eliminate deficiencies in the HACCP Plan and other steps. The FDA site provides a list of Examples of Verification Activities (Appendix G) that one may find helpful. (Link to Source)


    Another resource with numerous examples of forms for the entire HACCP process including Verification can be found at Link to Source. I don’t know why no one has written HACCP for Dummies but it doesn’t seem to exist, possibly because of the many stages the food production, processing and distribution, each requiring a separate discussion. Since HACCP has many elements of Quality Control processes and procedures, Quality Control for Dummies which is in print may be an option and will come in handy for a future piece. A web search will reveal many other resources on the web to help get started. As in the previous steps and as in ISO processes, procedures are to be developed that match current practices and insure the desired results, and because of that the team will need need to customize or modify its processes to match their operation’s capabilities without compromising HACCP ideals.


    Verification is the step that the HACCP Team can use to understand if their plan works or not. Regular review of the process is critical to insure that the process evolves to meet changes in an organization’s personnel, process changes especially due to changes in raw material supplies, and changes in the business itself. Without regular verification the HACCP Plan will be another dust collector sitting on someone’s shelf only to be rediscovered after bad things happen. A good night’s sleep depends on diligence when it comes to food safety.


    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 food processor, distributor, wholesale or retail outlet 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.

    temperature monitoring ebook

    Written By:

    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.

    Temperature@lert Dave Ruede

    Full story

  • Beyond Food Storage: Transportation And Cold Chain Temperature Maintenance During Delivery


    Over the past couple of weeks, we've learned about how important it is to keep food at the distribution level, not only cold, but also clean, because both of these easy practices can help greatly decrease the chance for food born illness, spoilage, and bacterial infection in consumers. When one particular, widely-used food distribution company was exposed last summer for violating clean AND cold storage practices, national media attention prompted discussion about food distributors responsibility to keep food not only cold and clean in storage units, but also during its delivery.

    When reports came to the surface regarding suspect storage practices by a nationally operating food distribution company last summer by NBC, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided it might be time to propose some new rules that would strengthen the safe transportation of food. Although many were outraged when the report highlighted improper storage practices of perishable food items, the truth is that this food distribution company wasn't the only one failing to comply with food safety standards. In fact, random inspections made to refrigerator trucks that were passing through Ohio in November of 2013 found some equally disturbing violations. For example, in one particular inspection, a truck that clearly had liquid dripping out of the rear cargo area was chosen to be inspected, perhaps not so randomly. Upon opening up the rear of the truck, inspectors were appalled to find bags of raw chicken and meat dripping onto boxes and crates of seafood, vegetables, fruits and eggs on their way to small ethnic restaurants across the state and beyond. Immediately, the Ohio Department of Agriculture ordered that all 4,000 pounds aboard the truck be destroyed.

    But it doesn't end there. Not even a week later, another truck, coming from Nebraska and carrying meat through Ohio to a barbecue competition in Pittsburgh, was stopped when inspectors smelled spoiled food coming from the back of the truck. When the truck was opened, investigators found pounds of unrefrigerated, raw meat sitting in temperatures of more than 60°F. That food was also ordered to be destroyed by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

    What these reports revealed, more than the fact refrigerated trucks are traveling long distances with perishable foods, despite being clearly non-operational, was that illegal refrigeration practices were happening in more places than California's unregistered food storage units, and much more frequently than could be imagined.

    When these trucks were found in Ohio last year, investigators begged the question: whose job it is to thoroughly and regularly monitor refrigerated trucks? The answer might surprise and/or anger you. The investigation found that monitoring the trucks was actually nobody's job – not the Ohio Health Department, not the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and not the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. What's worse is that there is little federal oversight of these refrigerated trucks. So then whose job is it to ensure safe practices? That's a good question and one that the FDA attempted to answer with proposed changes regarding the safe transportation of food.

    The FDA determined that responsibility of clean and cold storage lied equally among shippers, carriers and receivers who transport food that would be consumed or distributed in the United States. The updated regulations, that began to be discussed in April 2014, are intended to ensure that persons engaged in the transportation of food that is at the greatest risk for contamination during transport, simply follow appropriate sanitary transportation requirements.

    Seems easy enough, right? Right.

    The proposed rule of the FDA would help maintain the safety of food during transportation by establishing specific criteria for conditions and practices, training and record keeping, transportation operations, information exchange, transportation equipment and waivers.

    Holding food distributors to higher standards in terms of food safety can only be beneficial, and perhaps, had these standards been enforced more strictly, earlier, the California distribution company that went under investigation last summer, wouldn't have been able to get away with such improper practices for so long.

    Still, the question of WHY remains when it comes to compromising food safety. Why are food distribution companies willing to risk consumer health with compromised product? Unfortunately, the answer, too often, seems to be that the task of monitoring temperature, on top of adhering to sanitation standards and other compliance regulations, seems to be a daunting and expensive task for food distribution companies that are chiefly concerned with maximizing profits and increasing customer bases. It can seem an expensive and time-consuming task to manually monitor temperature at different stages of the distribution cold chain. With the proposed FDA rules; however, less wiggle room will be allowed for companies trying to cut costs on proper storage. The rules would establish requirements for the design and maintenance of vehicles and transportation equipment, ensuring adequate temperature controls, standardizing procedures for exchange of information, training in sanitary transportation practices, and maintained written procedures and records. Sure, the long list of requirements can seem overwhelming, expensive and even impossible, but the truth is that it doesn't have to be so daunting at all.

    Fortunately, there are products available like Temperature@lert's Cell device that can monitor food at different parts of the cold chain, like storage and transportation, affordably, accurately, and automatically. By using the Cell device, food can always be ensured of proper storage. By using the Cell Edition during transportation, the cargo of perishable food could be monitored without wasting diesel fuel and would be able to alert the driver of a potential disaster. During the storage of food, be it at the distributor warehouse or at the retail level, the Cell Edition can be used to monitor the food temperatures before it is cooked or sold to the consumer. Using these monitoring devices is a foolproof way to collect information that can be shared with consumers, to give quantitative and qualitative assurance that the food they are about to consume is safe.

    It's a simple investment choice, really, and the best way that food distributors can provide peace of mind to their customers that want to be promised that the product they are receiving is safe for sale and consumption. Is that so much to ask for? We don't think so.

    refrigeration monitoring, temperature monitoring for refrigerators, food safety monitoring, FDA monitoring for food safety



    Sources:

    1. http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/09/24/want-food-from-unsanitary-storage-lockers-why-it-c.aspx
    2. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm383983.htm?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fda-proposes-rule-to-prevent-food-safety-risks-during-transportation
    3. http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm383763.htm#summary
    4. http://www.10tv.com/content/stories/2014/04/01/us-fda-to-move-on-food-transportation-safety.html     


    Written By:

    Kate Hofberg, Epicurean Essayist

    Temperature@lert’s resident foodie from sunny Santa Barbara, Kate Hofberg, creates weekly blog posts, manages the content database, and assists with the marketing team's projects. Balancing a love for both the west and east coast, Hofberg studied at University of California Santa Barbara, where she received a Bachelors in Communications, and Boston University, where she is currently a Masters candidate in Journalism. Before coming to Temperature@lert, Hofberg trained in her foodie ways through consumption of extremely spicy, authentic Mexican food with her three brothers and managing a popular Santa Barbara beachside restaurant. Through her training and love of great food, she brings fresh methods of cooking up content. When Hofberg is not working on Temperature@lert marketing endeavors, she serves as a weekly opinion columnist for the Boston University independent student-run newspaper, The Daily Free Press. If time permits, Hofberg enjoys long walks, reading, playing with her cat, and eating pizza. Her ideal temperature is 115°F because she loves temperatures as hot and spicy as her food.

    Kate Hofberg

    Full story

  • From Production To Patient: Manufacturing

    Pneumonia, measles, and malaria kill nearly two million people on the continent of Africa every year. Comparatively, the U.S. had 55 thousand deaths from pneumonia, with measles and malaria being a non-issue. One of the few means of prevention lie in vaccines and other preventative measures. Determining relationships and optimizing stability from production to administration is a vital part of success against the war on disease. But how does it work? How can one be sure a vaccine is well researched, properly attenuated, and stabilized?

    This series details the process of crafting these life-saving products and how they are able to reach locations globally. Vaccine manufacturers are subject to strict safety protocols and processes; if a product is poorly produced or guidelines are improperly followed, it could be a wasted investment –especially when people’s lives hang in the balance.

    Vaccines are produced in several different forms –often as weakened or inert versions of the virus to be treated. Vaccines are designed to force an immunological response to the disease, and activate Memory B cells to create specific antibodies in case a person is exposed to the virus or bacteria again.

    Before a vaccine can be made, researchers must spend time isolating and studying the virus or bacteria in question and learning how it causes disease. Researchers then begin studying how to prevent the disease, keeping it in an isolated, sanitary environment. There are three phases of studies: Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III that need to be completed before the vaccine can be used by the general population. Phase I trials determine if the product produces an immunological response, where Phase II and III studies use increasingly larger populations for the sake of determining the safety and overall efficacy of the vaccine.

    medical productionmedical production

    Once strains have been isolated from blood samples, viruses are carefully replicated in a cell factory with a growth medium. The virus must be free of impurities, including other similar viruses and even variations of the same type of virus. Most vaccines must be kept under ideal conditions, often between 35°F and 45°F. Otherwise the virus could become too strong or too weak to be used as a vaccine. Stored in small containers, viruses are grown by the millions and will eventually lead to several hundred liters of vaccine. Virus cells need to accumulate and multiply efficiently, so most mediums include proteins from purified cow blood or a similar source.

    When examining the production strategies of a pharmaceutical brand, solution pH plays a significant role in the stability of a vaccine. pH is a measure of acidity or basicity, measured on a scale from 0 to 14.  Viruses must be kept at a stable pH within the cell factory, such as water, which has a neutral pH of 7 often makes for an ideal medium in both reproduction and storage. Throughout this stage are sensors that monitor both temperature and pH. Without them, a power outage or prolonged outside exposure could lead to production slowdown or even contamination of the batch. During an increase in swine flu outbreaks in 2009, production slowed to a crawl in-part because of issues in the growing stages.

    After initial replication, the virus is then separated from the medium and placed into a second medium for additional, more concentrated growth. “Beads” (near-microscopic particles) are placed in the new medium to allow for a surface on which the disease can densely grow, and enzymes are added as catalysts to speed up production.

    vaccine bottles

    When the culture has grown large enough, it is separated from the beads in one of several ways. The solution is forced through a filter with openings large enough to allow the viruses to pass through, but small enough to prevent the beads from doing so as well. Another option is for the mixture to be centrifuged several times to separate the virus from the beads in a container where they can then be drawn off.

    Earlier, we noted that viruses are vetted or “attenuated” so that only the right viruses are used to produce a vaccine. Some viruses grow too strong when cultured, whereas others become too weak and are unusable. Only those that are somewhere between can be utilized for vaccinations. Cellular and Wi-Fi monitoring devices like the ones made by Temperature@lert are vital to the entire research & production process of ensuring clean, safe, and effective vaccines. Once the vaccine has been produced, tested, and approved by the CDC and the FDA, it’s time for them to be packaged and shipped to where they need to go.

    Look for next week’s installment of Production to Patient to see just how the CDC gets vaccines to their locations without harm!

    temperature monitoring guide, monitoring best practices


    Written By:

    Robert “Bobby” Rejek, Dreaming Dramatist

    Boston local, Bobby is Temperature@lert's resident fitness and nutrition expert. Majoring in English and having earned Suffolk's Recognition Day Award for his contributions to Suffolk University, Bobby joins the Temperature@lert team as a content writer. He creates health-related blog posts, aids in marketing team initiatives, and helps maintain the technical content database. Outside of Temperature@lert, Bobby is a certified Personal Trainer through the NCSF and is working on his first fantasy novel. Because he's always on the go, Bobby's favorite temperature of 65°F reminds him to keep cool and stay breezy.

    Robert Bobby Rejek

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  • HACCP Principle 5: Establish Corrective Actions

    Stuff happens, and HACCP is an iterative process.


    When Bad Things Happen To Good People was a 1981 best selling book by Rabbi Harold Kushner that chronicled his life while dealing with the diagnosis of his three-year-old son’s degenerative disease that meant he most likely would only live until his teen years. The author and father explores the doubts and fears that accompany such terrible news and the years to come. Thankfully many of us have never experienced such an event.


    Why does this relate to HACCP? Because those in the food industry have chosen careers that make us responsible for the safety of the nation’s food supply, and our efforts or lack thereof can harm the health of hundreds or thousands when bad things happen. And bad things do happen, as regular national headlines show. The 2011 Listeria monocytogenes outbreak from contaminated cantaloupes discussed in an earlier piece killed several and sickened many more. And those responsible were given a suspended jail sentence and fined severely. Examining such occurrences whether they happen to us or related businesses, and determining not only what happened but how to prevent it from happening it again is paramount. This is what Principle 5: Establish Corrective Actions is all about.


     


    When bad things happen in the food industry they can become national headlines. Left: TV coverage (Link to Source) and Right: press coverage (Link to Source) of a 2012 US  Salmonella outbreak linked to a peanut butter supplier to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and numerous outlets. A similar outbreak in 2008-2009 killed nine and sickened hundreds; the CEO of that corporation is currently going to trial for conspiracy mail and wire fraud and the introduction of adulterated and misbranded food into interstate commerce. Others in the company are charged with obstruction of justice. (Link to Source).


    Those versed in ISO 9000 quality processes are familiar with two major types of actions, corrective being one, preventative being the other. A US FDA presentation provides the following definitions for these terms along with some explanatory notes. (Link to Source)


    Corrective Action: action to eliminate the cause of a detected nonconformity or other undesirable situation.

    • There can be more than one cause for a nonconformity.

    • Corrective action is taken to prevent recurrence.

    • There is a difference between correction (action to eliminate a detected nonconformity) and corrective action.


    Preventative Action: action to eliminate the cause of a potential nonconformity or other undesirable situation

    • There can be more than one cause for a potential nonconformity.

    • Preventive action is taken to prevent occurrence.


    The FDA give further guidance as to the steps that will be needed for a Corrective Action.

    • Determine and correct the cause of non-compliance

    • Determine the disposition of non-compliant product

    • Record the corrective actions that have been taken


    The FDA is also very clear on where to go from these three corrective actions. “As a minimum, the HACCP plan should specify what is done when a deviation occurs, who is responsible for implementing the corrective actions, and that a record will be developed and maintained of the actions taken. Individuals who have a thorough understanding of the process, product and HACCP plan should be assigned the responsibility for oversight of corrective actions. As appropriate, experts may be consulted to review the information available and to assist in determining disposition of non-compliant product.” (Link to Source) I would add that the documentation should contain a description of the non-conformity plus analysis and determination of the root cause.


    As was noted in previous pieces about HACCP implementation, what can be easy to define may be more difficult to describe fully, and why taking the broadest view may be the safest. One challenge for the HACCP Team in Establishing Corrective Actions will be the potential push to bypass the process and to bow to business pressures to keep going even when things go badly. After all, businesses don’t make the money needed to pay us or our colleagues when they don’t ship or sell products. Thankfully managers know the risks associated with food safety and hopefully err on the side of extreme caution when something is found amiss during a production run.


    Two examples of Corrective Action plans (below) can help provide some ideas as to how to approach this step. The first is a more extensive plan that defines the Raw Material or Process Step, Hazard, CCP Monitoring, and Corrective Action. Each Item in the left column is addressed and most importantly the procedure and responsible person are identified. It is best if the responsibility is a specific person and not a department, QA or QC or Production for example since this would leave the process open to the perennial chasing of one’s tail with, “I thought X or Y was doing that.”  



    Link to Source


    The second speaks directly and only to the Corrective Action Form itself. This is useful when an incident occurs and corrective action is underway. Note the date of the incident and each step as well as the person responsible for verification are noted along with a description of the problem and corrective action taken.  


    Link to Source


    Both of these forms are for in-house nonconformities. When product is shipped and then identified additional steps are needed and may include customer notification, warnings, or even a recall.

    A web search will reveal many other resources on the web to help get started. As in the previous steps and as in ISO processes, procedures are to be developed that match current practices and insure the desired results, and because of that the team will need need to customize or modify its processes to match their operation’s capabilities without compromising HACCP ideals.

    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 food processor, distributor, wholesale or retail outlet 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.

    food monitoring, temperature monitoring guide for kitchens

    Written By:

    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.

    Temperature@lert Dave Ruede

    Full story

  • Food Transportation: Storage That's Cold & Clean


    Last week, in a more or less horrifying and revealing discussion of improper food storage practices by a nationally recognized food distributor, we learned that cutting cold chain corners was something of a standard practice. Well, at least for one food distribution group in particular. In my opinion, it's one too many, especially for the multibillion dollar company who knew the difference between good and bad refrigeration practices and were knowingly gambling with consumer health when they decided to store perishable food items in 21 unregulated and unreported storage units across California.

    It's not news to anyone in the food distribution industry that when food is not kept at proper cold temperatures, or sits at temperatures over 41° F for more than 20 minutes, bacterial growth can double every couple of minutes! So, that perishable food items were knowingly being stored in such conditions is criminal and careless! But, if the improper storage of your food isn't enough to scare you, maybe this frightening contribution to the investigative NBC report on the same distribution company will!

    According to the same investigation regarding illegal cold storage practices by a largely successful food distribution company that was reported nationwide in the summer of 2013 (I still won't name any names, but I will tell you that in 2013 they did $44 billion in sales), NBC found that perishable food items were not only being stored at temperatures as hot as 81°F, temperatures that exceed “Danger Zone” temperatures by 40°F, but that the storage units that were supposed to be temporary drop sites were not only excessively hot, but also, beyond unsanitary.

    Yes. As awful as it sounds, it's true. When the report came out, not only did consumers have to worry that they had may have consumed food items that were not kept at proper temperature, but also, in filthy conditions. The NBC report revealed that when inspectors finally did visit these drop sites after they were exposed, they found that the storage units were filled with rat droppings, insects, rust, dust and other debris. Yikes.

    It's hard to emphasize the importance of food distributors to keep their perishable food items cold AND clean. It seems like it should be a no-brainer for food industry workers who should understand the standards that are kept in place in order to keep our food safe for consumption. By just adhering to these simple standards for food storage, the potential for food born illness outbreaks, widespread infection and spoilage can be significantly improved, and ignoring these guidelines for profit gain is absolutely unacceptable.

    During the time of these investigations, what was scary for consumers who were ordering from restaurants and cafes that they trusted to have safe products for consumption, was that they had no way of guaranteeing that their food was free of contaminates and bacteria. They faced health risks simply by ordering their favorite salads with extra sides of mayonnaise-based dressings, or wraps featuring their favorite proteins, that were delivered by this particular distribution company. How could they know for sure if the chicken on their chicken sandwich had been refrigerated or had actually been stored among dust mites and rust particles at an unrefrigerated and undisclosed location? Unfortunately, they couldn't, and they just had to take a bite and pray that they wouldn't get sick from lunch.

    Perhaps equally as disturbing is that the restaurants that were serving this improperly stored food thought that they could guarantee the safety of their product to the customers they were serving. After all, they were ordering from a national supply company who promised the employment of best practices, boasted impressive sales statistics and ensured compliance with FDA standards.

    The bottom line is that most food products begin to rot and spoil immediately after they are pulled from the ground, simply because they are no longer linked to a water source from the original plant, and therefore, cold storage units are absolutely necessary to make sure that the product doesn't excessively spoil with each day. But, that's not all. Those cold storage units better be clean too! They are simple practices that, when carefully observed, can help avert major health crises.

    This piece is not intended to scare you from ever eating out at a restaurant again, nor to stop you from eating altogether, for that matter, but, actually, meant to enlighten you to some of the harsh realities of the food industry at the distribution level and make you aware of the importance of safe storage standards. It's an urge for you to be inquisitive with the people that are serving you food, being educated about what you're eating and asking questions to stay healthy! This particular distribution company, since the public investigation by NBC, claims they have stopped using these drop sites and delivery practices for good, but it's not to say that there aren't other distribution companies out there still employing the same illegal methods of food storage today. 

    Although remote temperature monitoring products can't help you clean your refrigerated storage unit, they CAN help you to determine if your refrigerator and freezer units are maintaining proper temperatures. The easy-to-install, low-cost, accurate, automated and continuous remote temperature monitoring editions are an efficient and fault-tolerant way to guarantee to consumers, whether it be it restaurant buyers or consuming customers, that food products are safe to eat from a temperature perspective. Don't you want to feel good about that sinking your teeth into that chicken sandwich that's lying on your plate? Of course you do.

    Food safety monitoring, food service monitoring, refridgeration monitoring



    Sources:

    1. http://www.globalcoldchain.com/articles/temperature-controlled-packaging-for-cold-chain-distribution.aspx
    2. http://www.newser.com/story/175117/usda-investigating-claim-sysco-kept-meat-in-sheds.html
    3. http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/09/24/want-food-from-unsanitary-storage-lockers-why-it-c.aspx
    4. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm253954.htm
    5. http://www.thepacker.com/fruit-vegetable-news/215538981.html
    6. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/Sysco-Food-Corp-Employees-say-Food-Sheds-Commonly-Used-Throughout-US-and-Canada-223218271.html
    7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sysco
    8. http://sysco.com/customer-solutions/2355.html

    Written By:

    Kate Hofberg, Epicurean Essayist

    Temperature@lert’s resident foodie from sunny Santa Barbara, Kate Hofberg, creates weekly blog posts, manages the content database, and assists with the marketing team's projects. Balancing a love for both the west and east coast, Hofberg studied at University of California Santa Barbara, where she received a Bachelors in Communications, and Boston University, where she is currently a Masters candidate in Journalism. Before coming to Temperature@lert, Hofberg trained in her foodie ways through consumption of extremely spicy, authentic Mexican food with her three brothers and managing a popular Santa Barbara beachside restaurant. Through her training and love of great food, she brings fresh methods of cooking up content. When Hofberg is not working on Temperature@lert marketing endeavors, she serves as a weekly opinion columnist for the Boston University independent student-run newspaper, The Daily Free Press. If time permits, Hofberg enjoys long walks, reading, playing with her cat, and eating pizza. Her ideal temperature is 115°F because she loves temperatures as hot and spicy as her food.

    Kate Hofberg

    Full story

  • ALERT: New Sensor Cloud Features

    Here at Temperature@lert, we strive to improve your experience and meet your needs. So we're excited to announce five new features now live on Sensor Cloud:

    (1) Dials View

    Your Sensor Cloud dashboard now comes equipped with three types of display (list, map and dials). Dials view includes a visual display of normal (green) and alert (red) tiles with audible alerts along with filter capability.

    sensor cloud screen shot

    (2) Enable/disable Store & Forward from Sensor Cloud (available only on Pro Plan)

    You can now activate Store & Forward directly from Sensor Cloud. Store & Forward allows a Cellular or ZPoint device to store readings locally on the device during a service outage until service has been restore, which then the device will transmit all stored readings to Sensor Cloud. 

    Sensor Cloud features

    (3) Signal Strength is displayed for all new (only available for ZPoint CELL & ZPoint Sensors/Repeaters)

    When you are not sure of your signal strength you can now check it directly from Sensor Cloud.

    Sensor Cloud signal strength, signal strength

    (4) Sticky sorting

    If you have a preferred sorting method on your dashboard, you can now use our sticky sort feature. You can sort by status, device ID, device name, monitoring interval or last activity. The sort will last the duration of the login session in the browser.

    Temperature@lert Sensor Cloud

    (5) Incidents Report

    A new report type is now available under the Reports tab for Pro Plan accounts. The incidents report includes details and descriptions on each incident for a user-selected time period.

    Sensor Cloud incidents report


    If you are not a current Sensor Cloud user, but you have a Temperature@lert USB or WIFI device, you can try out Sensor Cloud for 30 days, absolutely free. To sign up click here: https://www.temperaturealert.com/Wireless-Temperature-Store/SensorCloud.aspx

    Temperature@lert Sensor Cloud


    Written By:

    Diane Deng, Advertising Acrobat

    Born and raised a Bostonian, Diane graduated with a BS from Boston University in Communications with a specialty in Advertising. Aerodynamic Diane spends her spare time flying in the air through her practice of aerial yoga while pursuing her ALM in Information Technology, Digital Media at Harvard. Not only is she a flying machine but a marketing machine as well. She recently launched her first national cross-promotional marketing campaign. When Diane is not gliding on yoga swings, she swiftly manages Temperature@lert's new media accounts while building client and affiliate relationships. For this airborne gal, she likes her temperature like she likes her aerial yoga, a warm 78 degrees.

    Temperature@lert Diane Deng

    Full story

  • HACCP Principle 4: Establish Monitoring Procedures

    Bureaucratic principles need not rule the day here.


    I don’t believe a day goes by that I don’t hear or see the words bureaucratic red tape come up in conversation, snipes, blogs, tweets, posts, or in between my own ears. That being said, I will argue here that bureaucratic or no, HACCP Monitoring Procedures are not only necessary, they are paramount to the safety and wellbeing of the consumer and therefore the ultimate well being of the business using them.


    Every day we encounter both local and national chain restaurants making local or national headlines about problems related to foreign objects, harmful chemicals or microorganisms in the food they serve causing problems. The contamination of some Chinese made infant formula with melamine became a worldwide scandal in 2008. The 2011 Listeria monocytogenes outbreak traced to a Colorado grower resulted in 33 deaths and 147 infections according to the CDC’s 2012 report. (Link to Source)



    CDC map of 2011 Listeria monocytogenes outbreak (Link to Source) linked to Colrado cantaloupe farm (Link to Source) caused a nationwide panic and recall and resulted in criminal charges for the owners.


    The role of HACCP Principle 4, Establish Monitoring Procedures is to reduce, prevent or eliminate such occurrences. Like OSHA safety guidelines, HACCP procedures are only as good as those entrusted to practice them. The concern often expressed by the HACCP or other family of teams is, “We spend so much time writing (OSHA, HACCP, ISO, etc.) procedures and then no one follows them after three (days, weeks, months) or they only follow them when the next inspection comes up. So why bother?” Of course we all know the answer: because unless we are sociopaths we must protect those working in our business and our customers from being injured, sickened, or even killed by what we do. We work for a paycheck but most of us have the interest of caring for and about our colleagues, co workers, and customers health and safety.


    Establishing HACCP Monitoring Procedures can be a challenge. The good news is that by doing the work of the first three principles the team have the information they need to do a good job. And the other good news is that many have gone before us and can give us guidance or assistance if needed. For such guidance one resource is to ask industry colleagues for help or guidance. Allowance will be needed for differences in the businesses, but these are usually easy to see and understand. Another resource is the US FDA HACCP website. (Link to Source) Here businesses can not only look at guidance about establishing monitoring procedures but also determine if specific U.S. FDA HACCP requirements or recommendations apply to them. Products such as Dairy, Juice and Seafood have separate links for such support. A Retail and Food Service section is also available.


    Web searches can also turn up industry or university guidance for monitoring procedures. One easy to read and understand resource is from the University of Nebraska Lincoln. (Link to Source) Some key points from this link are:


    • Each CCP must be Monitored by a Specific Individual

    • Personnel must understand the importance and purpose of monitoring and be trained

    • All records must be signed or initialed by the person doing the monitoring

    • Exploration of Continuous vs. Discontinuous or Attribute monitoring

    • Ideas about Group Exercises to generate interest and solicit input and ownership


    Another potential resource is through professional social media sites such as LinkedIn which has a Group called Food Safety and Quality Assurance. This group has thousands of members worldwide and hosts a plethora of advice and resources for HACCP compliance. Members are open to requests for support and often can point to personal experience or professional assistance. LinkedIn Food Safety and Quality Assurance Group Link


    And web searches can often bring up free, professionally grounded resources for any HACCP need. A search for HACCP Principle 4 Establish Monitoring Procedures brought me to http://www.haccpmentor.com/haccp/ccp-monitoring-records-haccp/, a page that provides examples of a monitoring form as well as a discussion of the hows and whys of developing and implementing such a plan. The site also contains valuable information and sample forms for Hazard Analysis and CCPs that can be found by searching the site’s archives.


    As in all business operations a balance will need to be established between the need to insure food safety and to operate the business profitably. These two things are not incompatible as was discussed above: unsafe products will result in lost business, customers, etc. Finally, trust the process, colleagues and co workers. The business may have been running safely and profitably for decades, so something is working. Learn from that and adapt to it, bringing quantification and validation that things really are going well.


    Example of a Monitoring Form from haccpmentor.com website.


    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 food processor, distributor, wholesale or retail outlet 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.


    temperature monitoring ebook, temperature monitoring best practices, temperature monitoring products

    Written By:

    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.

    Temperature@lert Dave Ruede

    Full story

  • Food Transportation: Distributor Disasters


    Over the past couple of weeks, we've begun to take a look at the history and advancements of current refrigeration practices, the potentially disastrous affects of improper temperatures on bacterial growth and consequent food born illnesses and the importance of maintaining cold storage for perishable food items at every stage of your food's journey to the plate –from production to delivery.

    At this point, it should come as no surprise that good refrigeration practices are vital in ensuring the safety and health of perishable food products. So, in today's modern and technologically advanced society, can you think of a reason why the cold storage of perishable food items distributed by one of the most successful, nationally operating food distributors might be ignored?

    Trick question!

    The answer is that under absolutely no circumstance should the cold storage of perishable food items ever be compromised; especially by largely successful food distribution companies, who not only know better because they know very well the potentially dangerous hazards that can result from the consumption of improperly stored food, but also, who can afford proper refrigeration units for product storage.

    The scary fact of the matter is that, even when budgets allow for proper refrigeration units and when unfavorable consequences of poor refrigeration practices are understood, food distribution companies don’t always observe proper cold storage. Yep. You read that right. Unfortunately, food distribution companies across the country have been known to compromise cold storage practices of perishable food items. It's a frightening truth that was brought to the foreground of food safety discussion last summer after an NBC investigation of a nationally recognized food distribution company (I won't name any names) and their product storage practices. The horrifying report, that sparked national media attention, revealed the disturbing truths about commonplace, improper food storage practices by major food distributors.

    The story begins back in the summer of 2013, when investigative journalists at NBC reported that one of the global leaders in food distribution, with more than 425,000 clients and 193 operating locations throughout the U.S., Bahamas, Canada and Ireland, was guilty of using 21 unrefrigerated storage sheds across Northern California to store meat, dairy, produce and other perishable food items before being delivered to their final destinations. The investigative report included recorded video footage of perishable food items, including chicken, pork, beef, bacon and milk, sitting in these sheds, sometimes overnight for up to five hours, in temperatures as hot as 81°F, before the products were delivered to hotels and restaurants across the state. The California Department of Public Health, in their own investigation following the NBC report, found that the storage sheds were never registered with the state and never inspected. 

    But why would a multibillion-dollar company with a good reputation take this kind of risk with consumer health, you ask? According to responses from company sources, in response to the investigation, the sheds were supposed to be a cost-efficient way to deliver small orders to clients that weren't profitable enough to be delivered in a big refrigerated truck and only supposed to be a temporary storage solution.


    When this investigative report came to the surface and gained negative national media coverage, this food distribution company was caught with their pants around their ankles, and were forced to not only make some big, public apologies to their clients across the country in monetary form, but also, had to prove to their clients that gambling with their health was a practice that they were going to cease immediately and correct with prompt action.

    Still, it doesn't matter how quickly the storage centers were shut down. How many of the 48 million people a year in the U.S. that contracted a food born illness were affected because of these knowingly improper food storage practices? How many of the 3,000 deaths a year due to food bacteria and spoilage could have been avoided had this distribution just observed proper, lawful refrigeration practices? How many of the 128,000 people in the U.S. a year that end up hospitalized due to food illnesses could have been saved the trip? It's hard to calculate exact numbers, but my best guess is that these unsafe storage practices probably didn't help in reducing any of these numbers.

    It's too bad that these days “cost-effective” and “cutting corners” have become synonyms for money-hungry corporations that are more concerned with maximizing company profits than guaranteeing safe products for their consumer clients. For nationally recognized food distribution companies, there's no excuse for using unregistered and unrefrigerated storage units for perishable food items, because if anyone should be familiar with food born illness and bacterial growth statistics, it should be them, right? As a recent, former manager of a California seafood restaurant, who happened to do high-volume ordering from this particular food distribution company myself, I'm appalled and horrified at the thought of not only serving potentially infected food to my customers, but also consuming it myself!

    With the truth about these practices made public with news reports, not only was new attention called to the broader issue of breaks in the cold chain's final links, but also discussions about cost-effective and preventative solutions were initiated. Perhaps had this particular food distribution company known how easy and affordable it was to invest in remote temperature monitoring devices, they could have saved themselves the headache and embarrassment of negative media attention, extensive lawsuits and huge account losses that resulted from their improper refrigeration practices. 

    It's been almost a year since the NBC report surfaced and since then, the food distribution company under investigation has promised that the storage sheds in question have since been closed and that poor refrigeration practices are no longer being observed. From here, it seems to me that the reputation of this company can only be improved and with the help of low-cost, automated, remote and continuous alert systems, like for example, the Wi-Fi and Cellular Editions from Temperature@lert, customers can have more to rely on than just the distributors word for it that their products are being properly stored at cold temperatures, and not only achieve peace of mind, but peace of stomach.

    refrigerator monitoring, food safety, food monitoring best practices, best refrigeration practices


    Sources

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sysco
  • http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/Sysco-Food-Corp-Employees-say-Food-Sheds-Commonly-Used-Throughout-US-and-Canada-223218271.html
  • http://www.thepacker.com/fruit-vegetable-news/215538981.html
  • http://wearethepractitioners.com/library/the-practitioner/2013/08/12/sysco-sales-drop-sites-exposed        

  • Written By:

    Kate Hofberg, Epicurean Essayist

    Temperature@lert’s resident foodie from sunny Santa Barbara, Kate Hofberg, creates weekly blog posts, manages the content database, and assists with the marketing team's projects. Balancing a love for both the west and east coast, Hofberg studied at University of California Santa Barbara, where she received a Bachelors in Communications, and Boston University, where she is currently a Masters candidate in Journalism. Before coming to Temperature@lert, Hofberg trained in her foodie ways through consumption of extremely spicy, authentic Mexican food with her three brothers and managing a popular Santa Barbara beachside restaurant. Through her training and love of great food, she brings fresh methods of cooking up content. When Hofberg is not working on Temperature@lert marketing endeavors, she serves as a weekly opinion columnist for the Boston University independent student-run newspaper, The Daily Free Press. If time permits, Hofberg enjoys long walks, reading, playing with her cat, and eating pizza. Her ideal temperature is 115°F because she loves temperatures as hot and spicy as her food.

    Kate Hofberg

Full story

  • HACCP Principle 3: Establish Critical Limits

    Hazards and Critical Control Points are identified, but how much control is needed?


    I’m not sure if it’s urban legend or not, but I have been told that manufacturers of modern cars equipped with computers have the ability to limit the top speed of their products. A friend’s son stationed in Germany had a Camaro sent over and was looking for a computer chip that could override the top speed limit for his Autobahn stints, not sure if he was successful but he’s still alive so maybe not. For most of us car top speed limiters are not a concern as driving much more than 70 mph or 75 mph in today’s crowded and well policed US highways is rare. Just this weekend a driver on the highway I was traveling decided that traffic was not going fast enough and was passing everyone at speeds well above the speed limit, and most drivers were already above the speed limit already. Where there’s safety in numbers, the speeding driver was singled out by the local constabulary (a.k.a. state police trooper) for special attention. Needless to say all those around me arrived a their destinations on schedule and with all of our funds and insurance rating preserved.


    Drivers moving too slow can also be a hazard and some highways are posted with minimum speeds. As I did when traffic was flowing freely, using cruise control can help insure that drivers do not go too fast or two slow, keeping the vehicle within the critical limits.


    I like the definition of Critical Limit offered by Cornell University: Critical Limit: A maximum and/or minimum value to which a biological, chemical or physical parameter must be controlled at a CCP to prevent, eliminate or reduce to an acceptable level the occurrence of a food-safety hazard. It reminds us that biological, chemical and physical hazards are all important and not to focus on one or two, those we’re most familiar or comfortable with. It also reminds us that while eliminating a hazard may be preferred it may not be achievable, therefore reducing them to acceptable levels is necessary. Again the science is important: what are the FDA or other reputable sources defining as acceptable limits.


    Establishing critical limits for food products is in some ways like establishing speed limits. The HACCP Team’s challenge is to apply Critical Limits to the Critical Control Points (CCPs) that promote safety and are balance with scientific evidence and the business’ capabilities. For example, if the hazard analysis determines that worker hands need to be washed before handling food products, the control point is the hand washing station prior to the food handling. But how clean is clean, how much and what type of hand washing is needed? Do workers need to wash as well as surgeons entering a sterile operating room? In many hospitals the length and type of hand washing is prescribed, as a link to the US NIH website describing WHO handwashing procedures before surgery demonstrates. (Link to Source)


    PreSurgical handwashing procedures shown on the left (Link to Source) may not be required for food products.  The table below describes information related to food service handwashing types, purposes and methods; the site includes other useful information. (Link to Source)


    4.  Types of hand care



    Type

    Purpose

    Method

    Hand wash

    Remove soil and transient microorganisms

    Soap or detergent and friction for at least 10-15 seconds

    Hand antisepsis

    Remove and/or destroy transient and resident microorganisms to control infection transfer from hands

    Antimicrobial soap or detergent or alcohol-based hand-rub and friction for at least 10-15 seconds

    Surgical hand scrub

    Remove or destroy transient and resident microorganisms to control / prevent infection in patients undergoing operations

    Antimicrobial soap or detergent preparation with brush to achieve friction for at least 120 seconds, or alcohol-based preparation for at least 20 seconds


    Table of handwashing types, purposes and methods for food service workers. (Link above)


    HACCP Team members will need to research the level of handwashing needed to prevent the spread of microorganisms in order to set Critical Limits for microorganisms of concern for their particular products, for example dairy and seafood may require higher levels of sanitization depending on the products. Here the science is very important. The science need not include laboratory testing of workers hands to determine how well they comply with procedures. It will likely include a search of best practices for a particular operation. And if environmental factors other than those that determine best practices exist, they will need to be taken into account when limits are set.



    Of course worker hand cleanliness is important but not the only potential hazard. Critical Limits are set to insure that all identified biological, physical or chemical hazard are addressed, each CCP will have at least one Critical Limit. In many cases the Critical Limit is set by regulations or scientific data.


    The University of Florida) offers some questions the HACCP Team may consider.


    • How are Control Limits identified?

    • What are the appropriate and reasonable parameters or boundaries for food safety?

    • What is the method that will be applied to determine the magnitude of each parameter?

    • What are the measurable criteria?


    Here are some examples of parameters that are measurable and can be used to set critical limits.

    • Time: Cooking time, rate, time at temperature, etc.

    • Temperature: Ideal, maximum, minimum.

    • pH: Acidity of a liquid

    • Water Activity: Vapor pressure of water at a particular temperature

    • Moisture: Amount of moisture in food

    • Titratable (means of measuring) acidity: Total acidity determined by chemical analysis

    Turning again to the source of the Critical Limit definition (Link to Source), here are some examples of critical limits in one food industry: seafood. Table 1 provides examples of biological hazards and methods of control along with critical limits for each.



    Table 2 identifies sources for the critical limits, in many cases regulatory agency or scientific publications by reputable sources in the industry. Note in-house experiments are included along with laboratory support. This is important because critical limits are method dependent, they can be modified and still achieve the desired result as long as the results are scientifically validated and verified. For example, adjusting cooking temperature and time or moisture levels to achieve a more desirable product is acceptable if the result eliminate or reduce levels of microorganisms of concern to safe levels. Cooking is an art but safety needs to be validated and verified by science when consumer safety is at stake.



    Table 4 demonstrates a more complete definition of a critical limit, defining cooking temperature and time as well as the minimum internal temperature and time to meet the critical limit. Cooking foods that have a high chance of containing harmful microorganisms (e.g. seafood) will require a fuller definition of what is needed for the critical limit.


    The image below demonstrates how the critical limit is incorporated in the HACCP plan. The Cornell University link has a sample document that may be helpful. (Link to Source)



    The types of food products, hazards and processing methods will determine what is needed to achieve the Critical Limits. Many food industry operations have a good record of food safety, identifying current methods and parameters is a good place to start. The HACCP team can begin to document what has worked, whether or not the identified CCPs exist and from there establish Critical Limits. Again worker buy-in is critical, acknowledging the good work currently being done is a way to start to achieve the total HACCP plan.


    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 food processor, distributor, wholesale or retail outlet 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.

    temperature monitoring, best practices for monitoring, temperature monitoring guide

    Written By:

    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.

    Temperature@lert Dave Ruede

    Full story

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