Automated Temperature Monitoring

Considerations for the Retail and Foodservice Industry

By: Eric Moore, Director of Food Safety and Industry Outreach at Testo North America

“Bending the curve of foodborne illness” is a phrase coined by current FDA Deputy Commissioner of Food Policy and Response, Frank Yiannis, which best sums up the overarching goal of FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety. Over the past 15 years, there have been many advancements in science and technology to improve food safety; however, little has changed in the number of people annually affected by foodborne illness. FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety represents a new approach to food safety that is intended to leverage modern methods and technologies to better protect public health. 

FDA will be pushing industry (in some cases incentivizing digital adoption) to leverage digital tools and systems that monitor key food safety risk factors. One specific area of interest that will directly impact the retail and foodservice industry is automated temperature monitoring. This new focus on automation comes with challenges. There is little guidance available to the industry on how to properly set up and use these automated systems at the operational level. These systems are intended to continuously monitor and record real-time data for air temperature, product temperature, and even door openings. For an industry accustomed to using paper-based logs, this is a significant change to temperature monitoring that needs to be understood. 
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