Smart device may enable low cost cold chain monitoring
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Packaging/Smart-device-may-enable-low-cost-cold-chain-monitoring
By Jane Byrne, 30-Mar-2009
A smart packaging device for monitoring threshold temperature throughout the cold chain is low cost to enable broad take-up by food manufacturers, claims its UK developer.
Smart packaging including freshness and temperature indicators for use in supply chains for foods that are highly temperature sensitive is a growing trend, but often their cost can inhibit wide use within the industry.
Reuben Isbitsky, joint chief executive officer of Timestrip, said its newly developed sensor Timestrip Plus records how long a product has been held above a critical temperature and is extremely affordable, with cost as low as US $0.50 cents per unit depending on batch requirements.
He told FoodProductionDaily.com that the device differs from existing temperature recorders that show immediate exposure to a critical temperature in that it can accurately indicate whether a product is deteriorating.
“Product quality can often be compromised by cumulative exposure to elevated temperatures during transit and storage and, crucially, what manufacturers need to know is how long their products have spent above a defined temperature.
“Using the Timestrip Plus adhesive label on product packaging ensures that products that spend excessive periods of time above the correct temperature can be rejected before being displayed in the retail outlet,” said Isbitsky.
He said that it is possible to see at a glance how long a product has spent about its safe storage temperature, even if it was at some stage returned to the correct temperature.
“A viewing window shows the indicator is active by changing colour from white to blue, and as long as the product is held at or under the safe temperature, the colour does not progress.
“Once the temperature threshold is breached the colour (liquid) moves across a scale, showing how long it has been above that temperature, allowing the user to take the appropriate remedial action. However, on its return trip to the safe temperature, the colour stops progressing,” continued Isbitsky.
Moreover, he claims, the cost of the sensor is low enough for it to be placed on every unit or case, and in this way, a compromised product can be segregated accurately, saving an entire shipment that might otherwise have been discarded because of suspected temperature abuse.
“The Timestrip Plus sensors are easy to use and don’t require training so they can compete effectively with electronic indicators in terms of accuracy, readability and cost to enable even small sized manufactures to engage more widely in ‘cold’ supply chain product monitoring,” added Isbitsky.
He explained that the sensors can be customised to meet most products’ temperature requirements, they can work under ambient, refrigerated and frozen conditions, and are activated by the end user squeezing a bubble on top of the indicator.
According to Isbitsky, the sensors, which he said are US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) compliant, can also be integrated into a product's packaging at the point of manufacture.
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