If you operate within the cold chain, in production, transportation, as a food laboratory, or anywhere where you are responsible for food handling, you need to be in complete control of your business at all times. Even the slightest change in atmosphere can result in harmful (sometimes even deadly) bacteria spreading through your products.
As with all workplace hazards, prevention and preparation are absolutely key. Providing you are aware of the dangers and have sufficient protection methods in place, such as a digital monitoring system, you can ensure safe and effective service.
With a temperature monitoring system you can ensure produce is kept at the correct conditions throughout
If you decide not to set up measures for temperature control, you run the enormous risk that your products will be exposed to a number of disease-creating bacteria and pathogens. With most forms of bacteria forming through inadequate storing methods, there is no room to take chances.
If you are found to be liable for causing sickness to the general public, the consequences will be severe, both financially and in terms of the business’ reputation. As we saw recently with the tragic case of the Clock and Key Pub in Tristen, even a small-scale lapse can have devastating repercussions for all involved.
Here are three of the most common examples caused by temperature monitoring oversights.
This is one of the most common bacterial infections, and has become a notorious threat worldwide, so you would think people would have learned their lesson by now. And yet, time and time again, food vendors and preparation facilities throughout the UK and internationally fail to account for it when handling, storing and cooking food.
Salmonella is most commonly present in raw and undercooked eggs, poultry and meat but has also been found in fruit and vegetables that have become contaminated. Facilities which prepare milk should also be on the lookout as it has been known to gestate in unpasteurised milk.
Because the presence of this bacteria is dependent on how the food or dairy product in question is cooked, the temperature of your working environment needs to be stable and accurate at all times. If not, the disease has more of a chance to form and spread, which could land you in trouble if the contaminated product hits the shelves.
These lessons should be followed even if the laboratory is only handling raw foods, as rapid temperature fluctuations can still impact the integrity of the product.
Some food laboratories specialise in storing foods before they are transported somewhere or analysed. If these facilities cannot guarantee reliable temperature measurement then there is little point in their operation.
Correct storage is one of the most vital parts of food safety. If it is done incorrectly, the risk of contamination rises greatly, and jeopardises the whole business.
This is especially true with poultry and meat, as both are incredibly sensitive to temperature whether they are in storage or being cooked. Both are susceptible to Campylobacter bacteria, which is known to form during storage and causes cases of food poisoning if it is not eliminated in the cooking process.
Meat must be kept at the correct temperature at all stages of the storage and preparation process
Even in freezing temperatures the bacteria is not always completely eliminated, however, it is a good place to start. Freezers are one of the areas where a temperature monitoring system is most beneficial, as this can alert managers of any unplanned temperature changes, and ‘nip it in the bud’ so to speak, before it becomes a real issue.
While Campylobacter can survive freezing temperatures, Listeria can withstand the slightly warmer climate of a refrigerator, where most other illness-causing bacteria perish.
Although Listeria doesn't quite have the range of Campylobacter and Salmonella when causing illness, it does target those who are vulnerable to sickness in general, meaning it still needs to be taken seriously.
Elderly people, pregnant women and young children are at particular risk of catching the disease, as are those who already have a compromised immune system.
Listeria mainly affects ready-to-eat foods that are commonly stored in the refrigerator, a place that people normally associate with food safety. As the appearance of this bacteria is heavily dependant on cooking, storing and reheating temperature, food laboratory managers need to be cautious at all times.
Again, as with all of these bacteria, as long as the appropriate processes are observed and preventive measures are put in place, food laboratories should be able to produce products that are safe and ready for human consumption.
Testo offer our industry knowledge as well as a wide range of equipment for food safety which will help you meet your quality requirements and give you the reassurance you are storing and cooking your food safely. Our instruments include temperature monitoring systems, data loggers, thermometers, cooking oil testers, thermal cameras, PH meters and more.
Whether it is for spot checks or long-term monitoring, from farm to fork, Testo has the right instrument for the job. Want to find out more about testo food safety equipment? Why not visit our website www.testo.co.uk or give us a call on +44 1420 544433 and we'll be happy to help.