What makes the food supply chain such a critical factor in today’s food safety and quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) programs?
In general, the drivers for the food industry with regard to time/temperature measurement and monitoring include regulatory compliance, Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) or prerequisite program implementation, and quality assurance to maintain the cold chain. Ultimately, quality considerations drive the need for time/temperature measuring and monitoring activities more so than safety issues.
Of these, regulatory compliance generally is not the most significant driver, because temperature regulations are limited. Most of the regulatory compliance comes into play in segments of the food industry where HACCP is mandatory, such as seafood, meat and poultry. This would apply to cases in which the processor has put a temperature-related critical control point (CCP) into the HACCP plan. Temperatures in HACCP plans generally tend to relate to instances in which you are cooking product or cooling product, or in the case of seafood and the scombroid species, where the hold time also is critical. Also, the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) has some temperature requirements in it, and since the PMO has been adopted by all the states there are some temperature requirements for Grade A dairy products. In the meat industry, there have been some policies, rather than straightforward regulations, related to time/temperature. For example, there is a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy that poultry should be shipped at 40F, which has become a de facto regulation, because everyone in that industry adheres to it.
Time/temperature is a factor that for certain companies, certain products and certain operations will be considered critical and will they deal with it as a CCP in a HACCP plan. However, many companies consider time/temperature measurement and control as part of a prerequisite program that contributes to overall safety but where the primary reason for these controls is quality. For example, achieving the shelf life that is required to market refrigerated products means that time/temperature must be controlled from the get-go. If not, we won’t get the desired shelf life and thus we won’t maintain the quality. Indeed, the product will go bad long before it becomes a safety issue.
Real-Time Loggers like the PIMM™ AirTag and PIMM™ TMC provide an extra layer of quality and security by providing real-time notifications during transit. This allows the plant, carrier and distributor to have advanced warnings in order to initiate corrective actions during transit.
For more information, please visit us at www.Procuro.com or call us today (858) 457-8160.