Temperature Measurement


Time, temperature and humidity measurement for F&B

February 2004 Temperature Measurement

Food exporting companies are required to assure the quality of their produce and their clientele have forced them to comply with strict standards. Now local laws and consumer demand is putting increased pressure on all producers and distributors to work within the HACCP framework, enhancing customer satisfaction and to stay competitive.

HACCP (hazard analysis critical control point) is a Food Safety Management program in accordance with internationally recognised standards. It is a preventative system that corrects problems before they affect the safety in food through appropriate inspection and control procedures.

In keeping with the HACCP requirements, Testo, a leading European manufacturer of portable instrumentation for the food industry, enables the monitoring of food quality from the farm to the fork.

Micro-organisms and bacteria are able to multiply very fast in food within specific temperature ranges. Regulations and litigations dictate the proper handling of commercially available food. Besides temperature, the acid level, water level, nutrient level and structure of the foodstuff also play an important part in this multiplication of bacteria.

Companies that want to prove their adherence to the HACCP guidelines are essentially required to measure, monitor and record three major parameters for food safety: time, temperature and relative humidity.

Time is indicated to the consumer by the best before date or the use by date. Goods sold loosely do not carry a date and proper stock control with regular inventory taking, coupled with correct stock rotation (first in, first out principle), it is essential to monitor the correct product shelf life.

Temperatures for frozen food and cold shelves are regulated by legal requirements or limits. But even non-specified instructions like 'Store in a cool, dry place' need to be monitored. Temperature is responsible for most instances of food going off and impaired quality as bacteria and micro-organisms multiply at their highest rate within a temperature range of 3-65°C.

Testo offers a wide range of thermometers covering all sensor types (Pt100, NTC and thermocouples). Depending on the application, the choice of the right sensor is crucial to ensure accurate measurements! Wrong sensor selection very often results in erroneous rejection of food in supermarkets and production. Whereas most people are familiar with temperature measurement and control, relative humidity is a more difficult parameter to determine.

Testo loggers for temperature and humidity
Testo loggers for temperature and humidity

Atmospheric humidity is particularly important in connection with extended storage of dry goods. If substances that are sensitive to moisture are left in rooms for a long time without complete protection, moisture may be absorbed. This might not only result in agglutination of the product (ie, sugar) but also microbiological decomposition. Mould for example depends very much on the moisture present and is particularly likely to occur with condensation following big temperature fluctuations.

The Testo range of food inspection equipment is often recommended by HACCP consultants, when advising leading supermarket chains and food production plants. Testo's line of HACCP, food quality and data logging instruments is suitable for storage, transportation and preparation monitoring. They reliably ensure food safety and help protect a company's interests. Testo portable instruments are distributed in South Africa exclusively by UniTemp.

For more information contact UniTemp, 011 392 5989, sales@unitemp.co.za, www.unitemp.co.za





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