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The importance of monitoring
Controlling the temperature of food is extremely important in ensuring that food is safe to eat. Government guidelines are set to ensure that food is always cooked, cooled, chilled or reheated properly to minimise the risk of harmful levels of bacteria in the food sold to members of the public.
Meat products are typically regarded as high risk, but dried goods such as rice and pulses, vegetables and salads are also likely to contain bacteria that may grow if the food is subject to poor temperature control.
Chiller temperature and efficiency
The efficiency of a chiller can be affected by incorrect temperature settings and tolerances as well as air speed, airflow and relative humidity.
Monitoring the opening and closing of chiller doors to ensure activity is kept to a minimum is also very important to ensure proper temperatures are maintained.
High humidity or temperature within a chiller, or during the thawing process, will allow surface growth of mould. These need to be kept as low as possible.
Perishable food should always be kept out of the danger zone of 8 - 63ºC to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
Chilling food does not kill bacteria, but it does stop them from growing to harmful levels. Because of this, it is a legal requirement that perishable foods should be kept refrigerated at 8ºC or below. Frozen food should ideally be kept at a temperature at or below -18ºC.
It is good practice to check and record fridge and freezer temperatures at least once per day. If a fridge cannot keep food below 8ºC, it must be serviced or replaced.
OmniWatch wireless freedom. Protecting restaurants and grocery store refrigeration.
Refrigerators and freezers are essential for certain businesses in order to remain functioning. In the case of an outage, there is a lot of time and money spent trying to get operations back on track. Spook’s OmniWatch service is designed to give early advanced warning of changes in the environment to give valuable thinking and reaction time to save the contents of faulty fridges and freezers.
Refrigerators and freezers usually have many thousands of pounds worth of food supplies in them which need to be kept at a specific temperature to avoid spoilage. Walk-in coolers are accessed frequently throughout the day, but are rarely monitored after a restaurant or business closes for the evening. This period of time is where the most damage occurs as perishables can be left in an ever-increasing temperature, often too late to save the next morning.
While repairs can be costly for these machines, the real expense of rising temperatures is the irreplaceable damage done to product inside.
Equally important is storing the goods in known food hygiene limits to ensure safety in public consumption.
OmniWatch is designed to alert customers to sudden changes that may impact the uptime of their refrigeration units and as a consequence protect refrigerated or frozen produce. Some of the more common issues seen with coolers or freezers can all be monitored by OmniWatch.
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)
Spook can help HACCP planning and execution. With OmniWatch you can:
- Look closely at what you do in your business, what could go wrong and what risks there are to food safety
- Identifying any critical control points the areas a business needs to be monitored
- Decide who to contact and how if something goes wrong
- Produce reports and audit changes to prove your procedures are working
|Failure to maintain the cold chain||Growth of bacteria on meat; the higher the temperature the faster bacteria can multiply||A source of microbiological contamination resulting in a serious food safety hazard.|
|Inadequate chilling of cooked meat||Growth of bacteria on meat; the higher the temperature the faster bacteria can multiply||Increased chance of contamination of food products by food poisoning bacteria (such as Salmonella).|
|Inadequate heat treatment||Failure to maintain high enough temperatures for a sufficient time||Heat-resistant food-poisoning or spoilage organisms will not be destroyed resulting in a source of microbiological contamination.|
Temperature and humidity
Temperature and humidity are key metrics that must be maintained to ensure quality and safety of stored food products.
OmniWatch holds readings in perpetuity to be used should auditing be required and for equipment checks. Historical trend data can be studied to monitor equipment reliability and track any drop in efficiency, preventing possible future problems from even occurring.
While this is the most basic way to keep an eye on your chilled supplies a lack of power would be a major problem, perhaps a tripped circuit breaker, blown fuse, wiring issues, or a faulty storage room control board could be causing the issue.
A/C (Alternating Current) meters measure power consumption and is a clear indicator to ensure everything is working fine. If the motor of a refrigerator is constantly running but temperature is rising could mean there is a refrigerant leak or that a seal is broken and causing cold air to escape.
Accelerometers and vibration monitoring
Some of the main causes for wastage is associated with incorrect temperatures, high humidity or poor airflow. All of these can be caused by access doors being left open or continuous access by staff members or customers. With OmniWatch you are able to keep a detailed record of when, and for how long, a door is open for.
As well as door sensors, accelerometers and vibration detection sensors are ideal to detect vibrations and sudden movements. Pairing a sensor with the internal motors of a walk in freezer and establishing a pattern of behaviour is easy.
Unwanted water within a fridge or freezer can possibly lead to spoilage and wasted product. It can also encourage growth of bacteria or cross-contamination of other products on the shelves.
Leaking water or ice buildup indicates an underlying problem which will require professional maintenance to fix. Possible causes, such as ineffective air flow, could go unnoticed until it's too late to save the stored products.
Get in touch with Spook
Please contact us if you wish for further information on how Spook can help with your environmental and power monitoring needs.