This Little Gadget Keeps Grocery Store Food Safe

During some of your trips to grocery stores, you may have noticed thermometers built into dairy cases and freezers full of frozen foods. Most commercial food display cases also have temperature warning alarms that sound when the environment inside gets too hot or cold.

Grocery stores also use humans to monitor foods in supermarkets. It’s especially important to keep items such as cartons of fresh produce or packages of meat in the proper conditions. Failing to do so could make people get sick, plus compromise the appearance and texture of the consumables.

However, have you ever thought about how crucial it is to use those same stringent practices when shipping foods? Otherwise, items might arrive at grocery stores in unusable states, resulting in waste for manufacturers, growers and retailers.

Even worse, keeping foods at the improper temperatures for too long creates the conditions for bacteria to grow. Plus, identifying contaminated food isn’t usually possible without a microscope.

A Tiny Gadget That Ship Food Safely

In the same way it’s necessary to keep a close eye on foods once they reach their destinations, logistics professionals take precautions to ensure the items get to where they need to go without issues. They choose packaging that keeps materials within the desirable temperature range and may invest in bubble wrap, foam or other types of padding that shields foods from vibrations and drops.

People who ship food regularly also understand the need to ensure the chosen packaging works as expected and keeps the contents from getting too hot or cold. To achieve that goal, they may use Emerald, a Bluetooth data logger from Oceasoft.

Small enough to fit inside almost any food container, it keeps track of temperature fluctuations during shipments.

Due to the Bluetooth connectivity and smartphone connectivity of Emerald, employees can take readings through the packaging whenever necessary. Because the shipping environments of companies that deal with international food transit needs vary, sending perishable foods abroad is not recommended. However, this data logger is an excellent option for any domestic shipments of temperature-sensitive consumables.

It’s also ideal for companies that ship food regularly and need a dependable tool to monitor temperatures during the transit process. Although the Emerald is only slightly bigger than a wristwatch, it can store up to 4,000 temperature readings and transfer them to the cloud.

Real-Time Data

In addition to temperature readouts, the Emerald can show geolocation data. Authorized parties may view the statistics just a few seconds after an initial transfer to the cloud, allowing them to enjoy valuable peace of mind and knowledge about the status of food shipments.

Products intended for human consumption are so valuable that it’s not sufficient to merely assume the items in shipment remain at the correct temperatures. The Emerald confirms the status of the contents in question, so people can take proactive measures if necessary.

Many companies that ship foods across the country ultimately get their products into the homes of thousands of people. Working with the grocery stores that stock those products requires showing evidence that manufacturers and logistics coordinators adhere to best practices for upholding food safety during shipment.

Statistics indicate 48 million Americans become ill from foodborne pathogens each year. If manufacturers identify supply chain problems related to shipment or another factor — or the Food and Drug Administration mandates a recall — the damage to reputations can be severe. Members of the public might mistrust the initial suppliers of tainted food, plus the grocery store chains that stocked it or the restaurants that served it to patrons.

Food safety officials say bacteria growth is most likely to occur in conditions ranging from 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, the number of bacteria can double in only 20 minutes. It’s clear why people cannot ignore temperature management requirements for even short periods of time when shipping products people eat.

Eliminating all factors that could cause food poisoning isn’t possible, but purposeful tools like the Emerald reduce them. When suppliers assure grocery stores they use monitoring gadgets and techniques to lessen the risk, it’s easier for those entities to maintain strong reputations in a competitive sector.

The Emerald is a prime example of a compact but worthwhile tool that plays a significant role in the foods many people eat every day. The information you just read may give you a greater appreciation for the carefully followed measures that promote safety for the edibles you love most.

Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews writes about technology and gadgets for Motherboard, MakeUseOf and The Gadget Flow. To read more posts by Kayla, check out her blog Productivity Bytes.