Using Data Loggers in the Meat and Poultry Industries
Data loggers are used extensively in the meat and poultry industries where it is vital that temperatures are accurately maintained at specified levels and recorded for ongoing verification.
Temperature and also RH monitoring may be governed by specific regulations including HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) controls, Food Hygiene Regulations, and European Union QFF (quick-frozen foodstuffs) Regulations, to ensure that food safety hazards are identified and controls are in place to eliminate or minimise risks to consumers.
Where data loggers are used
Data loggers are used in processing, cooking, pasteurisation, cooling and freezing. They are used throughout cold chain storage and distribution; in refrigerators, freezers and chilled display cabinets; and during sterilisation procedures and in industrial dishwashers.
Loggers may well need to comply with the BS EN 12830 European Standard which specifies the technical and functional characteristics of air temperature recorders used for the transport, storage and distribution of chilled, frozen and deep-frozen/quick-frozen food. The temperature sensor(s) may be integrated into the recorder - data loggers with built-in sensors; or remote from it - data loggers with probes.
Processing and cooking
Data loggers are used in meat and poultry processing, smoking and cooking to ensure that temperature control procedures are correct. Loggers must be robust and in some cases waterproof to withstand the conditions encountered. Data loggers with either flexible or rigid probes may be required to monitor extremes of temperature including oven and product core temperatures. It may be advantageous to choose a unit with a robust design and suitable temperature range for a variety of specific processes.
Temperature and relative humidity may need to be monitored during incubation, production, transport, storage and pasteurisation of eggs. Small, discreet devices can be used in hatcheries and during storage and transport, and robust loggers suitable for monitoring high temperatures can be used during pasteurisation cycles.
Cooling and freezing
Monitoring cooling after slaughter and cooking helps ensure that temperature control procedures are adhered to. The data logger needs to be durable and splash/waterproof so that it can be used throughout the entire process. For freezing, an accompanying low temperature probe may be required.
Cold Chain Monitoring
Meat and poultry products are sensitive to temperature fluctuations, and environmental monitoring throughout the cold chain is essential to ensure that specified levels are maintained and recorded. This relates to frozen, chilled and ambient conditions. Data loggers may well need to have the ability to display alarm warnings, which can be mandatory in some cases.
Data loggers used in transport must be robust enough to withstand the rigours of the journey, while being compact and lightweight to sit conveniently with shipments. It may be beneficial to choose a logger that can present recorded data quickly on arrival at its destination. For larger storage areas such as warehouses, a radio system which gathers data automatically for direct viewing on a PC may have advantages over individual standalone loggers that need to be downloaded manually.
Data loggers are used during sterilisation of food preparation equipment and in industrial dishwashers to help ensure that the correct operating temperature is maintained. A waterproof, high temperature device will be required, and loggers with flexible probes may be for some applications.
Using Tinytag data loggers
Both standalone Tinytag data loggers and the Tinytag Radio Data Logging System are an effective solution for temperature and relative humidity monitoring in the meat and poultry industries, allowing conditions to be recorded, analysed and validated.
Standalone loggers record data which is downloaded via a USB cable to a PC for analysis. Radio loggers gather information automatically using wireless communications: the System consists of a receiver connected to a computer or LAN and a number of radio loggers which self-configure to form a robust mesh network. The loggers work together to send information to the receiver for viewing on a PC, across a LAN, or remotely across the internet.
Tinytags are accurate, simple to use, easy to clean and able to measure small changes in temperature. Loggers with displays are available which give current readings as well as recording data. Tinytags can easily be moved to different locations, or more units added over time if requirements change. If BS EN 12830 standards are a factor, the Tinytag Transit 2 (TG-4080, TG-4081) and Tinytag View 2 (TV-4020) are both compliant.
Loggers are set up and data is presented in Tinytag Explorer, an easy to use Windows program. Recorded data is clearly displayed initially in graphs and tables which can be printed, copied and pasted, or exported into popular software packages.
Different Tinytag models are designed to suit specific applications. Robust, splashproof or waterproof units are ideal for processing and cooking. For very high temperature applications including oven and process monitoring, a range of accompanying PT100 probes is available which monitor from -50 to either 300°C or 600°C and which are waterproof to IP68.
The Tinytag View 2 (TV-4076) has an integral stab probe making it ideal for monitoring meat and poultry core temperatures.
For cooling and freezing, there are similar robust, waterproof units with accompanying PT 1000 probes for very low temperature monitoring. Tinytag PT1000 probes monitor from -80 to +100, or -200 to 200°C.
Tinytags used for monitoring throughout the cold chain. Small, robust standalone Tinytags can be left to record for long periods to accompany shipments by road, rail, sea and air. They monitor in warehouses, storage and display areas, and loggers with external probes are ideal for hard to reach areas, fridges and freezers.
The Tinytag Transit 2 (TG-4080, TG-4081) is a cost-effective temperature logger ideal for monitoring shipments. Its slimline, lightweight design allows it to be placed unobtrusively with products and packaging. As well as downloading recorded information via a USB cable to a PC, data can be offloaded using the ACS-3030 inductive pad. The logger is placed on the pad, which plugs into the PC with a USB cable. This speeds up the downloading of multiple loggers - helpful if results are needed quickly - and useful in harsh or wet environments where exposing the logger's connections can be avoided.
Rugged Tinytag Plus Radio Loggers, which gather data automatically using wireless communications, are ideal for cold chain warehouses with multiple monitoring points. They are also used in dynamic logistics operations: loggers can be located in refrigerated delivery vehicles to record and store temperature data while the vehicle is out. On return to the depot, data is offloaded once the loggers are back in range of the radio mesh network. Offloading data automatically can be beneficial not only in practical terms of not having to download loggers manually, but also if analysing results quickly and vehicle turnaround times are a priority.
Both standalone and radio loggers feature alarm warnings which can be vital and in some cases mandatory for cold chain logistics.
To withstand the intense conditions experienced during sterilisation processes, robust, waterproof Tinytags with accompanying high temperature probes are an effective solution. For monitoring industrial dishwashers, washer disinfectors and other cleaning processes, the Tinytag Splash 2 is ideal. This waterproof data logger is designed for high temperature monitoring and has a robust, high visibility yellow case with a short external probe for fast response times. It is used with the ACS-3030 Inductive Pad for quick and easy data download.
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