This story was first published in Food & Drink Business April 2020.
Measurement technology helps a user ensure impeccable food quality while taking HACCP regulations into account. For those involved in food manufacturing, food processing, food preparation and serving, it is important to understand the different measurement methods and suitable instruments.
For instance, automated climate monitoring reduces the manual effort and increases security thanks to versatile alarm functions while a combi thermometer can prove to be a real time-saving miracle with Incoming Goods.
Which instrument is best?
Spot-check measurement with hand-held measuring instruments play an important role, particularly in Incoming Goods and during food preparation. If you are looking for a portable measuring instrument, you should ask the following questions:
- can you penetrate the goods, or does the measurement have to be taken non-intrusively? Penetration measurement determines the core temperature so is more accurate but it does damage the packaging; and
- are you out and about a lot with the thermometer in your pocket? Then a folding thermometer makes sure you do not injure yourself.
In Incoming Goods, non-contact infrared measurement is used often as it provides fast results without damaging the product or the packaging. However, an infrared thermometer measures only the surface temperature.
In order to record the core temperature of foods, penetration measurements are necessary. For this reason, the use of a combi instrument such as testo 104-IR is convenient and saves time, since it gives users both penetration measurement and fast IR measurement in one instrument, which can be safely stowed in any pocket.
Measuring oil quality
Cooking oil in the deep fryer has a direct impact on all kinds of factors. Spent cooking oil has a negative effect on the flavour and digestibility of deep-fried food, while changing the cooking oil too soon, leads to higher costs.
A cooking oil tester such as the testo 270 offers a convenient solution for monitoring cooking oil consumption. The sensor is immersed in the oil and in only a few seconds measures the amount of “Total Polar Materials” (TPM) in the oil. If the oil is too old, it shows an increased TPM value.
Data loggers are used everywhere where measurement values are recorded regularly or over a longer period. In refrigerated rooms and storerooms, data loggers ensure adherence to the prescribed temperatures. They can store up to a million measurement values, which can be read via a PC. Crucial for use in the food sector is a robust, splash-proof construction so the loggers do not need to be uninstalled before cleaning the rooms.
The use of an automated data monitoring system is even more convenient. It is worthwhile especially when several rooms or refrigeration units are monitored – and with its alarm function, provides a decisive additional level of security.
With the right questions and good understanding of your food safety practices, it’s not too difficult to select the right measurement technology and keeping food quality and food safety in balance.