How the food industry is taking advantage of automated monitoring to optimise working procedures and decrease workloads

When it comes to the food industry, no matter which area a company works in, food safety is always a major concern. The sheer scale of end-customer demand, coupled with strict time restraints, puts a huge amount of pressure on the food industry to ensure all produce is carefully monitored and regulated from farm to fork. Practically every point of the process, throughout production, preparation, storage and transport, has potential danger areas regarding spoilage through mismanagement or poor temperature regulation.

Monitoring temperature is a particularly important part of this process. Incorrect climatic conditions can have devastating consequences, and businesses often leave themselves at risk of incurring needless costs should there be a power cut, or system malfunction. This can lead to wasted stock or worse; a legal dispute.

Such costs can be detrimental to both production and reputation (should the tainted stock be distributed) and will ultimately have a negative effect on profit margins.

Within the food industry more and more businesses are opting to use automated temperature monitoring. For certain applications simply using a data logger and noting down readings manually is sufficient, for instance building monitoring where there is no danger of damage to stock and you simply need the records for reference purposes. When dealing with climate sensitive stock though, as is more often than not the case in the food industry, using an alarm fitted system which monitors conditions continuously is fast becoming a necessary requirement. With such a system in place, if there is a problem, you will be notified immediately, so you are able to react straight away, before it is too late. This is particularly useful if you don’t have staff on site 100% time, which let’s face it, most companies don’t the have resource for.

When first introduced, whilst the logic and practicality behind this type of solution is somewhat undeniable, systems were very costly and the quality manager or person responsible for food safety simply couldn’t justify the cost. This has often proved to be the stumbling block for companies looking to move to an automated system, instead sticking with more traditional temperature loggers, and taking manual readings. To an extent this is understandable, “if it’s not broken don’t fix it”, right? Admittedly, in the first instance investment is needed for such a system. In the long run, however, it will likely save the business valuable time and manpower.

For example, if in the current regime a member of staff is required to go around and take checks at numerous locations, this is a needless additional task which could be used for something more productive. And of course, as mentioned previously, the overriding advantage of employing such a system is to act as a contingency measure and protect your operation in the event of a problem or system malfunction. This could end up saving money in the long run, on wasted stock, potential product recalls etc. Another saying comes to mind: “But we’ve always done it that way”. This has been described as the 7 most expensive words for any business; failure to adopt new methodologies can hurt a business in the long run.

 

The above video explains the advantages of an automated temperature monitoring system

What’s more, as technology continues to advance at an astonishing rate, such systems are now becoming available for a fraction of the cost when this type of system first hit the market. Testo’s Saveris 2 for example offers a fully automated temperature monitoring system from under £100 with no additional costs for software. Therefore, it doesn’t cost as much as you’d think to ensure your peace of mind.

 

About testo Food Safety

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, 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.

Refrigeration system maintenance today’s way

Are you one of many service engineers still working with analog manifolds? If so, you will be all too familiar with the fact there are far too many instruments are used in refrigeration system maintenance. Depending on the refrigerant or task, you need additional pressure and temperature measuring instruments or even another manifold. This results in more expenditure, in addition to the laborious handling and the frequent inaccuracies of measurement.

But wouldn’t it be much more practical if you only needed one instrument for all the maintenance work? Testo’s smart measuring technology including Testo’s App-controlled manifolds and Smart Probes support you in every task to make your daily work more efficient than ever.

 

 

Clearly, digital manifolds are nothing new. However, you can finally use the tool which has already been enriching and simplifying your private life for years, at work too: your smartphone or tablet. In contrast to analogue solutions, Testo’s smart refrigeration technology turns your smartphone or tablet into an efficient all-round tool instead.

This means you can simply measure pressure and temperature values, carry out a temperature-compensated tightness test or get superheating and sub-cooling values automatically calculated and displayed in the App.

 

 

Whereas in the past data had been analysed by printing out the measurement protocol and laboriously saved on the PC, all measurement results can now, irrespective of the measuring location, be graphically displayed and immediately dispatched on site by email – whether to the office or to the customer. And you can also update and extend the list of the most common refrigerants stored on the instrument at any time via the App. That sounds like a smarter way of working, doesn’t it?

This change from analogue to smart measuring technology is particularly worthwhile in the refrigeration industry, because many different parameters, such as pressures and temperatures, along with the superheating and sub-cooling of systems, must be checked here. The App makes additional measuring instruments unnecessary, streamline your entire work process and save a lot of effort as well as loads of valuable time. With Testo, your day-to-day work finally becomes part of your own smart world too.

 

Like some more info?

For more information on testo’s summer support or any of our products please visit our website www.testo.co.uk or give us a a call on +44 1420 544433 and we’ll be happy to help

Discover testo’s measuring solutions for food safety at Commercial Kitchen Show

We’d like to invite you to visit Testo at the NEC, Birmingham on the 6th and 7th of June, where we will have our latest food safety solutions on display. At Commercial Kitchen show we will be exhibiting some of our bestselling solutions for the restaurants and catering sector: including the award-winning testo 270 cooking oil tester, our Saveris 2 wireless temperature monitoring system and testo Saveris Restaurant; a brand-new solution which provides a fully integrated quality management system, specifically for the restaurant sector.

If you’re attending the show or you have some availability in your diary to attend, come and visit testo on stand D15 to see for yourself the solutions we can provide. Below is a bit more information about what will be on our stand.

 

Cooking Oil Quality – the Award-winning testo 270

Many people are unaware of this, but there are a number of risks associated with using cooking oil that is past its best; from high saturated fat content to unpleasant tastes. As cooking oil deteriorates fried products become hard, oily and the food inside might not even cook properly. This raises issues regarding food safety.

 

Testo’s 270 Cooking Oil Tester allows you to determine within seconds whether cooking oil needs changing. To do so, it measures the ‘Total Polar Material’ (TPM) content in the oil, which is a sure indicator of its quality. As well as guaranteeing clean cooking oil and a consistent quality of product, extensive tests have proved that regular measurement with the testo 270 reduces overall oil consumption by up to 20%. Therefore it’s not just productivity that will be improved, but also costs can be significantly reduced.

 

Wireless Temperature Monitoring – testo Saveris 2

As well as in the food distribution and manufacturing industries, temperature monitoring is an important factor in the catering sector. If food is stored in the incorrect conditions the consequences can be devastating and cooking conditions are also important. Using a climate monitoring system like testo’s Saveris 2, you can be certain the temperature in your kitchens and storerooms is continuously monitored.

Testo Saveris 2 Wi-Fi Data Loggers continuously measure temperature and humidity and wirelessly transmit the measurement data to the cloud. You can access these readings at any time using your smartphone, tablet or PC. You are immediately provided with an alarm by text or e-mail in cases of critical temperature or humidity values and can react quickly to threats of damage.

 

Automated Quality Management – testo Saveris Restaurant

Testo have launched a brand-new solution, specific to the restaurant and catering sector, called testo Saveris Restaurant. Combining intuitive software and precise measurement technology, testo’s latest solution aims to make daily job processes noticeably easier, safer and more efficient. It includes a fully integrated temperature monitoring system, and control unit(s) allowing all paper documents to be converted into a digital format.

This will help operators demonstrate the highest level of due diligence and ensures quality checks are completed on time and correctly. By removing the need for paper and automating many checks required in a restaurant, it can also help reduce operating costs and improve efficiency.

 

Come and see us at the show

Visit testo on Stand D15 at Commercial Kitchen, NEC Birmingham, 6th-7th June.

Click here for your free tickets

See you there!

 

About testo Food Safety

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.

New Smart Flue Gas Analysers – testo 330LX Special Anniversary sets

In 2017, Testo is turning 60 – celebrating this occasion with a new special edition range of testo 330 ‘Smart’ flue gas analysers. The new versions, called testo 330LX, include Free Bluetooth to enable the analyser to be connected to Testo’s free Combustion App. The App provides remote control of the analyser, plus an instant record of test results which can be shared via email.

This anniversary highlights 60 years of professional expertise, high-quality products and innovative solutions that support users in their everyday work. The intelligent professional analysis tools from Testo are the perfect solution for all measurements in and around heating systems. Based on the successful testo 330-2LL and testo 330i models, Testo is now taking the next step towards even smarter and more efficient combustion analysis, introducing three new testo 330 LX anniversary editions.

 

60 years of development has resulted in the pinnacle of flue gas measurement technology

 

All units include Bluetooth, enabling the analyser to be connected to Testo’s free Combustion App. Through the App, the analyser can be remotely controlled, plus test results are easily integrated into a report on site and shared via email. In addition to a sensor lifetime of up to 6 years, a 60 months’ warranty on O2 and CO sensors makes them the only models on the market offering a 5 years’ warranty without a maintenance contract. To fulfil highest-level standards of flue gas analysis, the three measuring instruments meet the highest requirements regarding longevity, precision and reliability. Numerous stored measurement menus and intuitive operation make your daily work easier than ever before. On top of this, the comprehensive flue gas probe range and other accessories from Testo often replace an additional instrument.

To sum up, the anniversary models stand out thanks to their innovative design and cutting-edge features. Enabling high-quality flue gas analysis, they support their user in a lot of different ways and ensure a simple and efficient reporting on site via the app. Take the next step to a more efficient combustion analysis and join Testo in celebrating their 60th birthday of measuring instrument expertise.

 

Key advantages:

All testo 330 LX and testo 330i LX models offer:

  • Free Bluetooth with free Combustion App
  • Long life O2 and CO sensors with 5 years’ warranty (even without a service contract)
  • Colour graphical display for a clearer data assessment
  • Logger function for 2-hour continuous measurement
  • Memory for 500,000 readings
  • Menu driven tests for flue gas measurement, tightness & let-by, differential temperature, draught, pressure, gas & oil rating and more
  • Optional probes for CO and CO2 ambient measurement, and for gas leak detection
  • CO measurement up to 30,000 ppm due to fresh air dilution

 

Like some more info?

For more information on testo’s summer support or any of our products please visit our website www.testo.co.uk or give us a a call on +44 1420 544433 and we’ll be happy to help

How major fast-food chains ensure consistent quality of fried foods on a global scale

Consistency is one of the most important factors in the fast-food industry. In order to keep loyal customers satisfied, restaurants need to be able to supply the same great product their customers have come to know and love, every time, without exception. Whilst this is hugely important in the food service industry, it is not limited to this, and is something which has become an expectation in many areas of today’s society, as outlined in George Ritzer’s much-publicised ‘McDonaldization of Society’.

Now you might think for the larger chains this is an easier feat, due to the highly regimented quality management in place. In actual fact, there are issues in maintaining standards at both ends of the spectrum. On the one hand, larger chains can have difficulties because of the sheer scale of their business. Those which are nationwide or even international need to ensure they have the same standard of fried product, across all their restaurants. Whereas, for individual restaurants and small chains budget is often tight, and this becomes one of, if not, the highest priority. In both instances, it is important not to lose sight of the most essential thing for any business responsible for serving food, and this is of course customer satisfaction. In today’s saturated market competition is fierce, and with digital review platforms such as TripAdvisor becoming more and more influential, customer opinion has never been more transparent and important.

With mass produced fried foods, from chicken and chips, to pastries and doughnuts, it is of particular importance they maintain the right consistent level in terms of look, taste, and overall quality. One way they can do this is of course, is by using the same ingredients and cooking oil to fry with. However, as we will explain, this is only half the battle.

One assumption we often hear is “If you’re using the same initial ingredients and oil, the end result should be the same right?” In short no. There are other factors which come into play when re-producing fried foods, one of the most significant being the age of cooking oil, and by this we don’t simply mean number of days, but also age in terms of usage. Cooking oil, like most things, ages as a result of many factors. With relation to deep frying, these can include what food was fried, the heat at which the oil was heated and the amount of times it was used. In scientific terms, this is referred to as thermal oxidative modification. The quality of cooking oil also decreases due to time spent at room temperature, causing an oxidation reaction between the air and the oil.

Until recent years, there hasn’t been any sure way of knowing when to change cooking oil, with many businesses either changing it on a certain day of the week for instance, or even something as simple as “it looks a funny colour, better change it”. There are two major risks involved with these types of imprecise methods; first of all, in many cases restaurants are changing their oil too frequently, in which case they are wasting money on oil costs (this can be significant, in some instances we have found this to be as high as 20%). More worryingly, sometimes restaurants are using oil which is way past its best, which can result in very oily, unpleasant foods, and in some extreme cases the product not being cooked properly (despite it looking the right colour on the outside).

 

Only by testing your oil regularly can you ensure both product consistency and optimised oil consumption

 

One major difficulty is, whilst in some countries in Asia and other parts of Europe, cooking oil quality is a much more recognised factor, in the UK not a lot has been done to improve the education of frying, outlining the necessity to ensure the products created are of the highest standard and that food safety is always considered. This is partly down to the lack of official legislation in the UK for cooking oil quality, as there is in countries where this is more widely recognised (such a legislation is tipped to be on the way however). With the uncertainty around cooking oil testing, when to change oil, and how to tell whether it is past its best, it is no wonder restaurants sometimes struggle to produce the ‘perfect’ fried product 100% of the time.

So this then begs the question, how are these massive, multinational companies able to supply such consistent, fried products across the world? The answer: regular cooking oil testing. Whilst this seems obvious, a significant number of restaurants in the UK are yet to introduce a process for measuring their oil, and many are even unaware such a solution exists.

Well the good news is, as of a few years ago, scientists discovered an accurate way to measure quality. Extensive research revealed the most effective way to check the age or quality of cooking oil is to test the Total Polar Materials (TPM). Without going into unnecessary levels of technical detail, in essence, with regards to TPM, too high levels of polar components illustrates that the cooking oil has been over-used and is no longer of acceptable quality.

Using an instrument such as testo’s 270 cooking oil tester on a regular basis, you can determine within seconds whether cooking oil needs changing. By simply inserting the tip into the oil, depending on the screen colour, the user can determine whether the oil needs changing or not. A green screen means the oil is perfectly fine, amber is when it’s on the brink, and red means the oil needs changing immediately. With an instrument such as this, the process of testing cooking oil is now just a simple spot check for restaurants, and is fast becoming an essential part of any quality management process which involves frying.

 

The above video gives a short overview of the testo 270 Cooking Oil Tester

 

If you’d like further information on cooking oil testing, please go to https://www.testo.com/en-UK/products/cooking-oil-testing

 

About testo Food Safety

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.