Transporting food and other wares which require refrigeration is more difficult than one might think. There is far more that goes into the cooling and transport of items you find in your grocery store, etc. Oftentimes it is a requirement that temperature data loggers be used in the transportation of goods to ensure that they are safe for consumption or use.
The Cold Chain
In order to make sure a product reaches its destination at the correct temperature, a process referred to as the “cold chain” is needed. The “cold chain” is any number of methods and/or vehicles used to ensure a product is kept at a constant temperature while being shipped from Point A to Point B. Some of the products shipped via the “cold chain”
- Fruits and vegetables
- Food which is frozen
- Drugs that are prescribed as well as used in clinical and hospital settings
Shipping products like these at a constantly regulated temperature is done in order to keep a certain level of quality and longevity necessary for distribution. A spoiled product is no good to the buyer or the seller. And temperature data loggers inform the shipping company of any abnormalities to ensure that corrective action is taken before risking the load.
Items like these, which are close referred to as cool cargo, have a shelf life, and the clock is ticking the moment they are shipped for distribution. It is critical for perishable goods such as these to arrive at their destination at the same temperature and in the same
condition as when the journey began.
Why It Is Necessary
The cold chain and temperature data loggers are needed for products which are consumed and ingested, for example, food and medication, because certain temperatures have to be maintained to ensure the efficacy of pharmaceutical drugs and also the taste and quality of edible products. Beyond the temperature requirements, other standards must be met, including acceptable levels of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and oxygen in the air of the container in which a product is being transported. While the elements; specifically humidity, extreme heat and cold can change drastically, the environment for a delicate product cannot.
The process of shipping products which require a controlled and constant temperature has been refined and improved in step with the products being shipped. Mistakes made as far back as the Spanish-American War while transporting vaccines abroad have been noted and acted upon. These days, the methods for distributing items like these include refrigerated cars and trucks, ships with cold lockers and insulated shipping containers, as well as warehouses and storage areas built for such purposes. These warehouses are key to the cold chain because they must keep products stable in between legs while being transported from one region to another. Controlling temperature is one step of the cold chain process. Recording and monitoring the activity is the other. Meticulous notes and logs (paperwork) need to be kept to streamline the process. A delay caused by sloppy paperwork can prevent a shipment of perishable goods from not only arriving on time, but in acceptable shape.
While products are in transit, computer sensors work to monitor the status of the cooling system responsible for maintaining a certain temperature for a shipment.
Checks and Balances
The cold chain is also a supply chain, and whether it is a vaccine, drug, food, or other product which is not as delicate, such as clothing, there are standards which need to be met. Proper documentation and standards are constantly being checked by state and federal officials to ensure the safety and quality of products that are transported over state lines as well as internationally and overseas.