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Automated temperature monitoring in the Secret Smokehouse

All food producers must adhere to numerous regulations, and standards, with the end goal of ensuring the quality and safety of food. A key requirement for HACCP and food safety is continuous temperature monitoring. This involves recording and documenting the temperatures of all fridges, freezers and areas where climate sensitive foods are stored.

The Secret Smokehouse supply high quality smoked fish to some of the UK’s top Michelin star chefs and restaurants, as well as Delhi’s and a small group of direct customers. A small, but rapidly growing operation, they were actually nominated for ‘Best Producer’ in the Observer Food Monthly Awards 2017, and are proud to work with the likes of Jamie Oliver, Claude Bosi and the Clove Club in Shoreditch, to name a few.

 

The challenge.

As a small-scale food producer, the EHO (Environmental Health Organisation) expect the business to be able to demonstrate how it manages HACCP and records what it does to make the food safe. A major part of this, is documentation of temperature values to show produce is stored correctly. The EHO also favour a method where they are able to see the checks have been done, without having to visit the premises physically each time.

Before implementing testo Saveris 2, Secret Smokehouse were checking temperature using a combination of spot checks with a thermometer and reading the fridge/freezer thermostats. This means all checks are done so manually, and recorded with a pen and paper. Also, as they have since discovered, fridge thermostats aren’t always completely accurate. When opening the fridge or freezer door, the temperature reading on the thermostat dropped very quickly. This would indicate the produce was at a high risk of not being stored correctly. The smokehouse suspected this might not reflect the true temperature drop, so wanted to explore installing a monitoring system to prove this.

The other issue with the previous methodology, was if there was an issue with a temperature deviation (from a loss of power or freezer door being left open for example), they wouldn’t know until the next check. This could be too late to save valuable stock.

This drove Max Bergius, owner of Secret Smokehouse, to explore options to simplify and, if possible, automate their temperature control. Research lead Max to Testo Saveris 2, with the standout advantages of using cloud software to demonstrate due diligence and the removal of taking measurements manually.

 

The solution.

Testo’s Saveris 2 is an automated temperature monitoring system that stores all measurement data in one central place. Multiple measuring points can be incorporated into the same system, meaning all fridges, freezers and storage locations are monitored simultaneously, with measurement data being transported directly to the cloud. This removes the need to collect data manually and the results can then be accessed by the dedicated person remotely, via PC, tablet or smartphone. This means there is no longer a potential for readings to go missing.

 

 

Testo Saveris 2 loggers are used to monitor temperature in refrigerators and a freezer.

 

In the Secret Smokehouse’s case, they are using a total of 4 loggers to monitor their 3 fridges and 1 freezer. They also use the probe from one of their loggers to spot check on each fish, once smoked. Speaking to Harri Walters, production manager at Secret Smokehouse, he explained how with the introduction of testo Saveris 2, they are already reaping the benefits of an automated monitoring system:

Before introducing a testo Saveris 2 monitoring system, Harri would need to perform a series of temperature spot checks; once in the morning and once at closing. Harri estimates that by removing the need to check the fridges manually, they save 5-10 minutes per day. Admittedly, as a relatively small operation this time saving isn’t enormous, however, with only 2 employees in the business, any additional time is precious. And as a former chef, Harri knows all too well that in a high-pressure kitchen environment these time restraints are only amplified. In either case, Harri concluded, the last thing you need is additional tasks to worry about.

The biggest advantage by far is not having to worry about it as much. As mentioned previously, the EHO (Environmental Health Organisation) expect small food businesses to be able to demonstrate how they manage and records what measures they take to ensure their food is safe. Testo’s Saveris 2 provides a straight forward way of proving due diligence and that they are monitoring temperature effectively.

Testo Saveris 2 – The advantages.

Saves Time – Without an automated system in place, an employee has to go through the whole site manually, checking each location. By automating this, all data is sent directly to cloud storage, allowing you / your employee additional time to focus on other important jobs. Reports are also collated and sent to you automatically so you don’t have to lift a finger.

Saves Money – employing a temperature monitoring system can save you money in the long run, on wasted stock, product recalls etc. If there is a potential problem, thanks to the alarm function, you will be notified immediately, before it is too late.

Secure and accessible remotely – all data is stored in one central, secure place. Reports can be sent directly to you via email, so you don’t need to waste time checking each individual logger (or even going to the site for that matter). Alarms can be set to send via email, SMS or App.

User friendly – some monitoring systems require time-consuming installation and maintenance but with a wireless system such as testo’s Saveris 2 it is very simple to get set up and started.

 

“With the Testo system our temperature monitoring is practically effortless, and we no longer need to worry. All kitchens should invest; as a chef or food professional the last thing you need is additional tasks.

Testo have been very friendly and professional during installation and throughout – a pleasure to deal with.”

Harri Walters – Production Manager, Secret Smokehouse

 

Like some more info?

For more information on testo Saveris 2 or any of Testo’s solutions please go to www.testo.co.uk or call us on +44 1420 544433 and we’ll be happy to help.

 

 

 

Foodex 2018: Come and visit the Testo stand and discover our measuring solutions that ensure Food Safety from farm to fork

Measuring instrument manufacturers Testo, will be at Foodex demonstrating our safety equipment for the processing sector. On stand K310, our experts will be on hand to explain how Testo’s range of instruments help operators ensure they are storing, producing and distributing food safely from farm to fork, whilst also enhancing process efficiency.

 

Testo’s range of Food Safety equipment includes data loggers, thermometers, pH meters, cooking oil testers, infrared thermometers, thermal imaging cameras, thermal barriers and more

 

On our stand, Testo will be giving out Free sausages, as part of our ‘how hot is your sausage’ application display. We will be doing live demonstrations of how to use Testo thermometers to show both the core temperature of the sausages, and surface temperature of the griddle during cooking. Thus, ensuring we are cooking the sausages at the correct temperature, and ultimately, proving we’re doing so safely.

As well as the sausage giveaway, a major focus at the show will be our data logger range, suitable for many applications in the food processing sector. These include low-cost loggers for simple temperature and/or humidity measurement in a cold storage room for instance, right through to the temperature of production items or the surface temperature of machines or motors themselves. Testo’s high-end data loggers have the capability to measure even the most extreme temperature ranges in production processes.

Another focus product is Testo’s Saveris 2, automated climate monitoring system. A cloud-based system that stores all measurement data in one central place, Testo’s Saveris 2 removes the need to collect data manually, meaning staff can use this time for other important tasks. There is also no longer a potential for readings to go missing. This has proved very handy for audits.

 

 

 

All Testo food safety equipment is HACCP certified. As well as those mentioned, Testo will have our full range of instruments on display including data loggers, thermometers, pH meters, cooking oil testers, infrared thermometers, thermal imaging cameras, thermal barriers and more.

 

Exhibition info

In April 2018, the UK’s premier trade event for the food and drink processing, packaging and logistics industries once again comes to Birmingham. With an expected 30,000 attendees across the 5 shows, the show aims to shine a light on top trends across the food manufacturing sectors; from improving traceability and food safety, transforming productivity and highlighting the latest new ingredients and super foods to make an impression on the industry.

Register free using the below detail:

Venue: NEC Birmingham

Dates: 16th -18th April

Section: Foodex

Stand number: K310

Register for free tickets at: https://foodex-2018-visitor.reg.buzz/Website

Like some more info?

For more information on Testo please go to www.testo.co.uk or call us on 01420 544 33

 

Acrylamide Legislation: What’s the panic about and how does the food industry need to react?

With the uncertainty around the new acrylamide legislation coming in to place in April 2018, many companies within the food industry are looking to further understand what is required of them.

 

Acrylamide typically occurs when foods with high starch content such as potatoes, are cooked at high temperatures

 

For those who aren’t aware, Acrylamide is a chemical substance produced by something called the ‘Maillard reaction’, which is when starch is overheated to cause a reaction between amino acids and sugars. It typically occurs when foods with high starch content such as potatoes, root vegetables or bread, crisps, cakes, biscuits and cereals, are cooked at high temperatures during the frying, roasting or baking process. It is important to clarify that acrylamide is not something which has been added to food, it is a natural by-product of cooking processes, and has always been present in these types of foods.

 

 

What are the dangers?

Recent scientific tests have led to acrylamide being classified as a ‘probable carcinogen’. This has prompted scientists to conclude it is advisable humans minimise consumption of this particular chemical, to in turn, reduce cancer potential.

 

How must the food industry react?

Whilst it is not possible to simply remove acrylamide, there are a number of measures which can be taken to reduce the levels. The legislation says that practical measures must be taken to mitigate acrylamide formation in foods. As stated by the Food Standards Agency, from April 2018 Food Business Operators will be expected to:

  • Be aware of acrylamide as a food safety hazard and have a general understanding of how acrylamide is formed in the food they produce
  • Take the necessary steps to mitigate acrylamide formation in the food they produce; adopting the relevant measures as part of their food safety management procedures
  • Undertake representative sampling and analysis where appropriate, to monitor the levels of acrylamide in their products as part of their assessment of the mitigation measures
  • Keep appropriate records of the mitigation measures undertaken, together with sampling plans and results of any testing

For the first of these points, hopefully this article will serve to help improve knowledge around the subject. For those issues remaining, we will now explain how measuring equipment can be used to help. Aside from using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (a complicated and chemically technical process to measure acrylamide itself) there are in fact some ‘quick win’ methods businesses can take to keep presence of acrylamide to a minimum.

When it comes to both food storage and cooking, managing temperature is in fact the main factor for the formation of acrylamide. Firstly, from the cooking side, as mentioned previously, acrylamide levels are increased by excessively elevated temperatures. A particularly high amount is produced when potato and cereal-containing foods are heated above 180°C. Acrylamide formation begins at around 120°C, but increases rapidly at 170-180°C. This needs to be considered by those involved in any type of cooking or even pre-cooking during food processing for example. With these types of products, it is advisable for them to be cooked at a lower temperature than usual, for slightly longer periods if required.

For fried foods in particular, such as French fries, the temperature of the oil needs to be ensured. Unfortunately though, you can’t always rely on fryer thermostats, as these often fail to show an accurate temperature. With an instrument such as the testo 270 Cooking Oil Tester, you can simultaneously measure both the temperature (up to 200°C) and the quality of the oil. Whilst TPM (total polar materials) measurement and acrylamide formation are not directly correlated, this is also very important for being economical with oil costs, and ensuring a consistent quality of product. By adding this as a simple spot check, operators can ensure fried foods are being cooked at the right temperature to keep acrylamide levels at bay, whilst also optimising their oil consumption, saving up to 20%. Documenting this check will also prove handy when it comes to audits, as proof of due diligence regarding the ‘records of the mitigation measures undertaken’ mentioned above.

 

 

With the testo 270 Cooking Oil Tester, you can measure both the temperature (up to 200°C) and the quality of the cooking oil.

 

On the flip side, during storage, one of the main steps recommended by the FSA is not to keep raw potatoes in the fridge, particularly if you intend on cooking them at high temperatures. Doing so is likely to lead to formation of more free sugars in the potatoes (referred to as ‘cold sweetening’) and can increase overall acrylamide levels especially if the potatoes are then fried, roasted or baked. Ideally, potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark place at a temperature of 6°C or above. As with the fryer temperature though, once again, for accurate temperature readings, unfortunately you cannot simply rely on thermostats, as these more often than not don’t reflect the true ambient temperature in the room. In this case a temperature monitoring system such as testo Saveris 2 would be the ideal solution, to ensure the temperature in the cold storage room is kept at the optimum level at all times.

 

  The testo Saveris 2 can ensure the temperature in the cold storage room is kept at the optimum level at all times.

 

Like more info?

For more information on the new legislation please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

If you would like further information on testo measurement equipment please visit www.testo.co.uk or call us on 01420 5444 33

 

 

Want to be in control of all your readings? Download our application example “Monitoring the temperature of foods”

When it comes to the food industry, no matter which area a company works in, food safety is always a major concern. Monitoring temperature is a particularly important part of this. Incorrect climatic conditions can have devastating consequences, leading to wasted stock or worse; a legal dispute.

Within the food industry more and more businesses are opting to use automated temperature monitoring. With systems such as testo Saveris 2 cloud-based WiFi data logger system, continuous monitoring of food temperature during production, processing and sales is now easier than ever.

Download testo’s Free application guide

Want to find out how automated temperature monitoring works? Download our Free application example “Monitoring the temperature of foods”.

 

 

 

To the download

Like some more info?

If you’d like more information on testo’s Saveris 2, or any of testo’s solutions please go to www.testo.co.uk

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.