|Ed McKiernan | President, Cold Chain, Electronics & Solutions
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions
September is National Food Safety Education Month. With food safety emerging as a top priority for retailers and store operators, we’re looking at how evolving technology and solutions are giving industry leaders opportunities to streamline their operations and ensure safety. To read the full article, which was featured in Convenience Store News, click here.
Health-conscious lifestyles and food safety are top priorities for a growing number of consumers, forcing food retailers and producers to focus on implementing solutions and strategies that help ensure food is safe throughout its supply chain journey. Smart technology has evolved to help them automate critical tasks and meet increasingly stringent regulatory requirements.
Automated temperature monitoring and management capabilities are some of the best ways to maintain food safety from harvest and processing to transportation, post-processing, distribution and receiving. Since it’s Food Safety Education Month, we feel it’s an especially good time to highlight a few examples of food safety modernization.
Small trackers, big results
Rather than manually recording temperatures at load and unload or using analog sensors to detect out-of-range temperatures, leading growers are transitioning to using real-time trackers at the transportation level to determine optimal conditions for food freshness. These trackers are about the size of a deck of cards and monitor freshness throughout the entire food journey.
Maximize refrigerated shipping container lifespans
Because refrigerated shipping containers have both a high value and long-life expectations, maximizing their lifespans is crucial. By implementing remote monitoring systems for intermodal containers, shipping companies can detect problems with the compressor, system runtimes, interior temperature or lighting conditions and route the container for repair whenever needed. This same data can also be used to monitor perishable food conditions within the container.
Continuous temperature tracking
Food safety can be compromised, even after relatively short periods of temperature deviations. Now, temperature conditions can be recorded and monitored throughout the entire journey to a retail destination and, upon arrival, can connect automatically to Wi-Fi based systems for instant validation of safety.
IoT and cloud-based solutions have emerged as necessary tools to maintaining food safety. These technologies enable data storage in the cloud and provide operators throughout the food supply chain with information to help maximize efficiency and ensure that perishable food is always kept safe.
Given the transparency that consumers are demanding about the food they’re eating, supply chain stakeholders are almost certain to make better use of automated and shared data by applying temperature management, data gathering and other IoT/cloud-based solutions across the entire food supply chain. Large retailers are also likely to embrace an interconnected approach to capturing data at every step to help drive consumer confidence.
This is an extremely dynamic period in cold chain history. As the industry moves to a more data-driven paradigm, we will undoubtedly discover improved methods of operation and new ways to engage and protect consumers. In recent years, Emerson has focused on expanding our capabilities across every domain within the cold chain to support this shift because we know the importance of providing data and information insights as food travels along its journey from farm to fork.
National Food Safety Education Month is a reminder of the importance of recognizing the efforts required to maintain food safety throughout the cold chain. Emerson focuses on these challenges every day: developing new technologies, strategies, solutions and products that not only help to optimize your operations, but also deliver the safest and freshest product possible.