Effective Cold Chain Management Through Temperature Monitoring

Temperature monitoring ensures product quality at each step

cold chain process flow

Temperature-sensitive items such as meats, vaccines, drugs, plants, and chemicals require temperature-controlled environments from the time they are manufactured until they reach the end user. The cold chain is established to keep the quality of these types of products in check as they travel to the end user. Keeping the temperature consistent throughout the cold chain process can be challenging but monitoring the temperature doesn’t have to be. The cold chain has evolved with new technology and tracking capabilities that enhance product quality and safety. A common practice for those who manage an effective cold chain is using reliable temperature monitoring and data logging devices to track temperature-controlled environments. These devices allow workers to keep an eye on the temperature to ensure the end user gets fresh and uncompromised product and that the product meets regulatory compliance and industry standards. In fact, industries such as pharmaceutical and foods rely heavily on the cold chain process and are regulated because failing to monitor temperature could put consumers at risk.

Source/manufacturing

Source, Harvest, Manufacturing stageThe food and pharmaceutical industries must use temperature monitoring and data logging because of the regulations, plus they want to meet GMP and of course provide consumers with quality products. They also need to be prepared for audits by governing bodies. For example, the vaccine industry has regulations to mandate strict monitoring and data logging of temperature for vaccines throughout the entire cold chain. Even a small shift in temperature ranges can cause vaccines to become virtually ineffective. On the other side of the spectrum, industries such as electronic or IT may choose to monitor electronics to ensure the quality of the products during transport.

Transportation

Cold Chain TransportShifts in temperature can happen at any time, especially during transport, although there are regulations being mandated for vehicles used in the cold chain process. Regardless, monitoring during transport can alleviate the question, “Did our products stay at the appropriate temperature during transport?”

Cold chain monitoring during transport has advanced to more data logging and collecting as much data as possible on the temperature conditions of the product throughout the entire transport process. Temperature data loggers used in the cold chain can be customized according to the cargo/product needs, so if the temperature falls out of range, the worker in charge of the product being shipped can be alerted. They then can manage the next steps to ensure the product gets to the end user uncompromised. With cloud data storage also available, the data logger can store unlimited amounts of data for later use and that data can be exported to CSV or secured PDF.

In addition, disposable data loggers are available and very convenient. After the trip, data is downloaded, and the device does not have to be shipped back to origination. It can be simply disposed. These disposable data loggers are waterproof and can be used in damp environments with ice or cold packs. Some data loggers can be purchased precalibrated, and the user will never have to worry about recalibrating them due to one-time use, which can be a big savings.

The option to subscribe to cloud-based services to upload data is ideal for evaluating data from multiple loggers. The devices can be configured from a smartphone or tablet to start, stop, change memory mode, unit preference, alarm settings, logging intervals, enable/disable alarm. Once all parameters are set, the user simply presses start on the logging device to begin monitoring. Once the shipment is delivered, the device will transmit the data to your mobile device. These devices will give the user the data needed to ensure the cargo remained in the correct temperature range for the entire cold chain transport process.

Storage/distribution

Cold Chain Storage and DistributionWhen products are stored either before or after transport, the storage temperature is as equally important as the transport temperature. Using devices such as data logging refrigerator or freezer thermometers with wireless capability and calibration can provide peace of mind and keep product temperature in check. They offer an easy and secure way to connect a smartphone, tablet, or personal computer remotely with refrigerators and freezers. Once setup is complete, users can securely monitor parameters 24/7, control alarms remotely, view data logging history, run reports in real time, and give access to other team members. No local software is required to use a cloud-based data interface. Get mobile push notifications, emails, or texts for out-of-range conditions as well.

Many products are calibrated to NIST-traceable standards and ready to use as soon as the user receives it. This means that a 17025-accredited calibration test lab has confirmed that the product meets or exceeds all stated specifications, saving you both time and money by not having to calibrate separately. NIST-traceable calibration also helps meet quality standards and regulatory compliance for ISO, FDA, cGMP, VFC, CAP, CLIA and Joint Commission requirements. See Key regulations for Cold Chain

It’s important to use these types of products for monitoring storage temperatures. The results of storing product or samples at the incorrect temperature has consequences—produce can spoil quicker, biological sample can die, or the effectiveness of a vaccine or drug can be compromised and put the end user at risk.

End user/retail

Retail, Healthcare provider, Grocer, Restaurant, Cold Chain End-userOne way to mitigate risk, ensure and sustain product quality and product freshness, and meet GMP is to invest in reliable and secure temperature tracking devices. Cole-Parmer can help optimize the cold chain process by providing reliable temperature monitoring devices to help track the temperature of products at any stage in the cold chain process. The devices can mitigate risk by providing a record of temperature ranges throughout the journey to ensure that the products are safely in their temperature range. These products can not only monitor temperature ranges during a shipment or while being stored in a warehouse or facility, but the data can be downloaded and stored for analysis to determine out-of-range conditions. This can be very important to industries that need to ensure products are sustained at the quality level needed to provide end users with safe products which is the ultimate goal of cold chain management.



Learn more about Cold Chain: What is Cold Chain?