When Temperature Variation Matters, Real-Time Monitoring Solves the Problem

With all of the attention being paid to the safe manufacture, distribution, and transport of human and animal food, shippers working in this sector need to pay particularly close attention to issues like temperature variation as they move goods around the world. In Are You Compliant with the Food Safety Modernization Act?, author Kristina Lowe says the CDC fields more than two reports per day of foodborne disease outbreaks (and more than one related death per month).

“Statistics like this and more have led to a massive overhaul and greater scrutiny into every aspect of the food supply chain, from the grower or manufacturer all the way to the consumer’s fork,” Lowe points out. “That includes transporting goods in a sanitary manner and properly controlling temperature.” The same care and attention applies to industries like pharmaceuticals, where even the slightest temperature variation can impact the integrity of the goods being shipped.

Getting Control of the Temperature

According to the final FSMA ruling, shippers must take certain measures during transportation to ensure food is not contaminated, such as adequate temperature controls and separation of food from non-food items in the same load. Among other requirements, the rule requires both shippers and their carriers to maintain written procedures and records related to transportation equipment temperature, cleaning, and prior cargos.

Fortunately for refrigerated fleet operators and shippers, technologies are available that enable them to comply with these impending regulations, meet the record-keeping demands of customers, protect food safety, reduce spoilage, and improve bottom-line performance—all at the same time.

“In recent years,” says Gayatri Abbot of Thermo King in Fleet Equipment Magazine’s Refrigerated trailer monitoring for food safety, profitability, “operators of large refrigerated fleets have come to rely on a new generation of integrated asset management systems enabled by cellular and Wi-Fi technologies, as well as access to real-time information. These systems enable shippers and carriers to track assets, manage temperatures, and monitor reefer unit alarms to ensure cargo integrity.”

The Answer: Real-Time Monitoring

To meet compliance needs and improve food safety, shippers are using more real-time monitoring tools to help them remain compliant. Using remote, real-time monitoring, companies can:

  • See where any refrigerated vehicle is at any given time—whether it’s moving or stationary
  • Use intuitive dashboards to monitor temperatures, fuel levels, and door activity
  • Alter temperature set points
  • Respond to alarms (via a computer, tablet, or mobile phone)
  • Provide temperature reports to customers
  • Create a reliable data and reporting trail that can be used in the case of an audit
  • Allow drivers to operate more safely by focusing on the task at hand (instead of watching for temperature warning lights)
  • Enhance overall operator efficiency
  • Manage the entire fleet from a single system

“With today’s reefer equipment, monitoring temperatures inside the trailer is almost a given,” writes TruckingInfo.com’s Tom Berg in Remote Temp Monitoring. “Recorders note what happens en route, and the data can be extracted if issues arise. However, in many cases, dispatchers still don’t hear about problems until after the load has gone sour. It’s far better if someone knows right now if something goes wrong so the load can be saved and arguments avoided.”

Odyssey helps you meet your real-time monitoring goals

Here at Odyssey we are keeping an eye on the legislative and industry activity that’s taking place in the trucking industry, including FSMA and other regulations impacting the transportation of food and other temperature-sensitive cargo. If you have any specific questions about your supply chain and how it would benefit from real-time monitoring, please reach out to your Odyssey representative.