While food service providers are charged to take tasty products to market that customers will love, they are tasked to do so with customer safety as their primary ingredient.
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Recommended temperatures are often associated with the cooking process, but that’s only one step for which food service providers must account in the supply chain—consistently maintaining recommended temperatures is equally important in storage and prep areas, for example, to truly maximize safety precautions.
The food industry now has more robust technology and improved temperature-monitoring instruments than ever before to help protect customers from dangerous illnesses. Integrating these resources into a comprehensive safety strategy will help drive higher safety standards, as well as compliance with regulatory and industry regulations. In addition, food service professionals that turn to newer technologies can automate key processes to achieve a variety of business benefits.
Benefiting from the Cloud, Wi-Fi
For fast-paced and high-volume operations, recordkeeping can be particularly challenging. Technology partners to the food service industry, however, have recently introduced user-friendly technologies that help ensure more accurate information is consistently captured and maintained for the future.
Cloud-based technologies, in particular, are increasingly helping food service providers keep records and maintain compliance with higher levels of efficiency, accuracy, and confidence. That’s because the cloud enables temperature records to be securely stored in an electronic format and accessed whenever the need arises. And when cloud computing is integrated with wireless temperature monitoring devices, food service providers can take greater control of their safety and compliance strategies.
The Comark Cloud, for example, utilizes Wi-Fi-equipped devices to automate temperature monitoring and recordkeeping across the spectrum of food service operations. Wireless devices are placed in crucial areas—like freezers, coolers, prep stations, and displays—to continuously monitor temperature conditions of the environment, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When temperatures rise or fall outside of preset safety zones, the system notifies staff of the unsafe conditions via alarm, email, and text message alerts so that proper protocol can be followed to bring the environment back into suitable conditions.
From safety and compliance perspectives, the benefits of this type of automated system are obvious because the technology helps ensure food is maintained in recommended temperature environments to minimize the risk of illness.
Wireless and cloud-based systems can bring about even greater advantages from business and operational standpoints. They can prevent large amounts of temperature-sensitive inventories from being spoiled—and written off as a financial loss to the company—when freezing, cooling, or heating systems unexpectedly go awry or completely fail.
The newest generation of handheld temperature-monitoring devices is also bolstering food safety protocols and compliance strategies. By integrating smart technologies into these instruments—and synching them with easy-to-use software—these handheld instruments provide value and capture robust data that is crucial to regulatory and governing bodies.
For instance, Comark recently developed the handheld HACCP Touch to drive greater efficiencies in temperature collection and help ensure key compliance-related tasks are quickly designated to their proper channels—and that any action related to those tasks is recorded for future reference. Using handhelds like these, product temperatures are recorded at critical moments during the life of a food product, including at receiving, storage, preparation, cooking, and handling.
Corrective-action commands can also be programmed, which gives rapid guidance to staff when it determines a temperature has fallen outside of a specified range. This capability empowers a user to quickly take approved—and compliant—steps when a situation requires it.
The new handheld generation is also designed for volume, capable of recording up to 65,000 temperature readings.
Waterproofing and Antimicrobial Agents
Not to be outdone by data loggers and recorders, measurement devices are also innovating by utilizing waterproofing solutions and antimicrobial agents to add an important second line of defense to support existing hygiene procedures.