Introduction to digital food safety system
September 28th , 2021 by Monika Australia & Asia Pacific
Digital food safety systems: what are they and how do they work?
In many industries, paper record-keeping is a thing of the past. But in the food industry, food safety activities are still largely recorded by hand. So what does a digital food safety system actually do? In this post, we explain what a digital food safety system is and how it works in a foodservice operation.
A digital food safety system automatically captures and transmits food safety activities and data to cloud-based software—in real-time. It’s a faster, easier and more accurate way to monitor and respond to food safety issues.
With access to live data and alerts, you can act fast to prevent stock from spoiling. There’s no risk of staff missing or recording the wrong temperature. Without the time delay of manual records, you’re across what’s happening in your operations right now – not sifting through retrospective paperwork when it’s too late to act.
Key elements of a digital food safety system
A digital food safety system should give you a complete picture of food safety performance across your operations—from the moment food arrives on your premises, to the moment it is served or sold to a customer.
Many systems address just one aspect of food safety, such as temperatures only. But it pays to invest in an end-to-end system that covers the full spectrum of activities. This will provide maximum transparency and efficiency in your practices.
An end-to-end digital food safety system should cover four key areas of food safety management:
- Temperature monitoring (food storage)
- Temperature probing tasks (food production)
- Cleaning, hygiene and maintenance tasks
- Performance monitoring, reporting and auditing
Safe food starts with safe storage. A digital food safety system will give you peace of mind that your stock is safely stored at all times, thanks to wireless sensors fixed to the inside of fridges, freezers, coolrooms, display cabinets and dishwashers.
Sensors collect data continuously and transmit it to the cloud using wireless networking technology (e.g. wifi, cellular or ZigBee). MonikaPrime sensors simulate product temperatures and can be configured for the food item being stored, with alerts triggered if there is a deviation.
Manual temperature recording involves taking temperatures by hand at least twice daily, which adds up to 6.5 hours per month or 78 hours per year for a typical food operation. A digital food safety system frees you from the human error and manual labour that comes from such an onerous task.
It also means management can check temperature data from anywhere—not just on-site. You’ll never lose stock again or be unsure whether to keep or throw out food due to an equipment malfunction or power outage. Email/SMS alerts and detailed reporting will make it clear what needs to be done and when.
Temperature probing tasks
During food preparation, cooking, chilling, reheating and serving, busy staff can quickly log temperatures with wireless food probes. Data goes directly from the probe to the software—no pen and paper, no stopping and starting, and most importantly, no human error.
The staff member simply selects the food item (e.g. “chicken thigh – cooked”) and batch being probed (for traceability) and inserts the probe into each item. The reading is automatically taken once the probe is inserted.
With MonikaPrime, smart task sequences and automated reminders guide staff through even the most complex food safety processes—for example, to ensure cooked food is chilled within the required timeframes and that the 2 hour/ 4-hour rule is followed.
Cleaning, hygiene and maintenance tasks
Forget paper checklists—with a digital food safety system you can digitally and remotely assign, coordinate and track all hygiene and maintenance tasks across your operations.
With MonikaPrime’s task management software, you can schedule tasks monthly, weekly, hourly, or at set times each day. Tasks can be tailored to particular sites or work areas (e.g. front of house, back of house).
For example, when a member of your kitchen staff approaches the end of their shift, the MonikaPrime Smart PA can remind them to empty bins, wipe down surfaces, rotate stock, change cloths/towels, inspect for pests and more.
Each task must be checked off with any comments or corrective actions taken. Tasks can be configured to require manager verification.
Performance monitoring, reporting and auditing
Finally, with a digital system, you can easily run reports for senior management and auditors to demonstrate compliance with food safety standards. One centralised system means there’s no filing and retrieving of records spread across multiple sites or work areas—the data is accessible in one central place, from anywhere.
In MonikaPrime’s reporting software, the hard work is done for you—just filter by date, time, location to customise the report to suit you or your auditor. This saves hours upon hours of time spent collating and analysing paper records.
All data is fully traceable by batch in the event of a food poisoning claim, so you can disprove any negligence. You can also spot trends over time and analyse practices within and across teams and sites. This allows you to reward performance, adjust your processes and target training to areas that need it.
Keen to know more about how a digital food safety system could be used in your organisation? MonikaPrime is a fully bespoke, flexible solution that is tailored to your operations.
Contact us for a free demonstration, where we will show you exactly how it can work for you.
Monika has provided temperature monitoring solutions to healthcare and foodservice institutions worldwide since the early 1990s. Our product simulation technology originated from research conducted in an accredited laboratory into 100+ different product types.