During transit, milk producers want to keep milk temperatures at a constant 2-3 degrees Celsius (36-37% Fahrenheit).
Solution for Monitoring and Managing the Cold Supply Chain
Failing to do so can render the content unsafe for sale because of potential health risks. Extremely temperature-sensitive, milk can spoil quickly even if temperatures rise just a few degrees.
Often, milk can take up to four days before it gets to store shelves. Accurately monitoring temperature during the time between producer and retailers is essential.
Milk, of course, isn’t the only product that is temperature-sensitive. Produce and many food items also need to be monitored while in transit.
The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has oversight on food safety and made it clear that the formal responsibility for maintaining temperatures during transit falls squarely on the shipper and carrier.
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If you’re the shipper, you want to be assured your temperature-sensitive products get to market to avoid receivers refusing the shipment.
If you’re a carrier, you certainly don’t want the liability that goes with temperature fluctuations during shipments.
If you are at the end of the delivery, you want to make sure you aren’t accepting goods that you may not be able to sell or that are unsafe.
Most food items must be maintained between 2-8 degrees Celsius (35-46 degrees Fahrenheit) to avoid bacteria growth, such as salmonella or other potential contaminants.
If damaged goods get into the hands of consumers that get ill, the liability can be huge.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 48 million Americans suffer from a foodborne illness annually. 3,000 die and more than 125,000 are hospitalized each year.
Ensuring that cold chain food handling is done properly with every shipment is crucial.
It’s not just food that’s susceptible to temperature fluctuations. Medical products, such as vaccines, blood, some medical devices, and pharmaceutical products are sensitive to temperatures.
While physical damage to packages is obvious, temperature variations are invisible in most cases.
These are just a few of the reasons shippers and carriers need to carefully monitor temperatures during shipments.
Some have chosen to use data loggers to provide detailed information, including when and where goods were exposed. However, it is an expensive solution and the data may come too late for the receiver to refuse delivery.
Using a Single-Use Temperature Indicator
One solution that is rapidly gaining popularity is deploying a single-use temperature indicator.
These single-use temperature indicators monitor temperatures. When temperatures register outside your designated safe zone, they turn red.
Some can also indicate whether exposure to unacceptable temperature conditions is brief, moderate, or prolonged.
This is important information as different products can handle brief interruptions while others cannot.
Temperature indicators protect everyone involved in the supply chain with high accuracy. They are easy to apply by attaching them inside coolers or containers — even in sealed containers.
When goods are delivered, it provides visible evidence that the proper temperature has been maintained during the delivery process, which can cut down on complaints and claims.
For all parties involved in a transaction, it can provide the peace of mind that the proper temperatures were maintained or an alert if something’s gone wrong.
The Benefits of Single-Use Temperature Indicators
The benefits of single-use temperature indicators for temperature-sensitive goods include:
- Affordable, disposable solution — especially compared to more expensive dataloggers.
- Eliminates food safety concerns, such as bacteria or contamination from temperature variations outside of safe levels.
- Identifies products that may be unacceptable for delivery
- Ensures accountability during the supply chain proves.
- Comes in varying sensitivities to meet different requirements.
By comparison, a single-use temperature indicator can be less than a third of the cost of a datalogger. When you multiply that difference across hundreds or thousands of shipments, the savings can make a significant difference.
Lost Revenue and Human Costs
Improper refrigeration of food during transit and storage costs billions of dollars a year. Some estimates are that more than a billion tons of food — about a third of all food produced for human consumption — gets wasted or lost.
Besides the lost revenue from poorly refrigerated perishable items, the human cost is astounding.
If just a third of the food that’s wasted was not lost because of improper handling while in the supply chain, it’s estimated that it would be enough to feed nearly a billion people globally.
Whether it’s perishable foods, life-saving medications, or other temperature-sensitive goods, managing and tracking temperature variations is crucial to managing the cold supply chain.
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