- THE MAGAZINE
- FOOD MASTER
Milk is an extremely temperature-sensitive product. It begins to spoil if its temperature is allowed to change more than a few degrees. During deliveries to distant receivers such as farmers’ markets and supermarket chains, milk’s temperature needs to remain at a constant 36-37°F throughout transit, otherwise receivers will return the milk as unsafe for sale as a health risk. For this particular milk supplier, they often ship products where proprietary software is unavailable, and on average, it takes about four days for the fresh milk to reach store shelves. With this risk in mind, the milk supplier wanted to find an accurate temperature measuring and alarm solution that would continually monitor their product as well as provide on-site proof of quality to receivers.
That’s why the milk company installed I-Plug Plus USB Temperature Data Loggers from CAS DataLoggers, Chesterland, Ohio, in the back of their trailers to closely monitor milk temperature. Drivers enclose the loggers into their self-adhesive pouches and place them directly onto the crates, four per truck. During deliveries, the internal sensor in each unit accurately monitors the product across a temperature range of -22°F to 158° at a high 0.5°C accuracy. Their lightweight and compact design makes for an easy fit among the gallon containers, each powered by a 1-year battery. Installed this way, the temperature data loggers provide good coverage of the shipment and continually monitor the product throughout transit.
The data loggers feature a start/stop button, which in stop mode, sets them to bookmark readings but continues to monitor until reaching the end of their memory capacity, storing up to 5,000 readings. They also offer advanced alarm capabilities to warn drivers when the product temperature becomes too high. Users set the sampling frequency to take a product reading once every 15 minutes. It only takes 90 seconds for the sensor to register an alarm. The data loggers switch on their alarm LEDs when they take a sample and find that the product is outside the pre-set safe temperature range. Drivers simply check the loggers during routine stops and look at the status lights indicating that temperatures are okay, over or under.
When delivering the crates to receivers, drivers use each data logger to transfer its temperature data via USB port to a PC without needing a separate USB drive. The free software download for I-Plug Plus data loggers also sends their temperature data online to a database where receivers can view it in graph format, in this case using the driver’s Android tablet with a free app. This is faster than having to send the data by email, and the readings can be changed to different time zones. All parties can also view logger settings online. The data loggers also offer an optional online Calibration Certificate specifically for the food industry, aiding in compliance with electronic documentation regulations.
The compact data loggers also include a free software and traceability portal, which generates online reports to receivers proving that the milk’s temperature has been successfully maintained throughout the trip.
By using the portable I-Plug-Plus data loggers in the back of their milk trucks, the milk company saves both time and product.