A time temperature indicator (TTI) is a device or smart label that shows the accumulated time-temperature history of a product.Time temperature indicators are commonly used on food, pharmaceutical, and medical products to indicate exposure to excessive temperature (and time at temperature).
In contrast, a temperature data logger measures and records the temperatures for a specified time period. The digital data can be downloaded and analyzed.
The basic types of time-temperature indicators include:
Digital temperature data loggers are available to indicate the full temperature history of a shipment to help identify the time period that out-of-tolerance temperatures were encountered. This temperature history can be used to calculate the loss of shelf life or the likelihood of spoilage. These small recorders are also used to identify the time (and thus location) of a shipment when the problem occurred, which allows for corrective action.
There are a large number of different time temperature indicators available in the market, based on different technologies. To the degree that these physical changes in the indicator match the degradation rate of the food, the indicator can help indicate probable food degradation.
Time-temperature indicators can be used on food products that are dependent on a controlled temperature environment. Certain technologies can also be used for frozen food and the cold chain.
Surveys within the European Union projects "Freshlabel" and "Chill-on" have shown positive feedback from consumers on the use of TTIs on food products. As TTIs help assure the cold chain of food products, they are expected to reduce the amount of food waste,as well as reducing the number of foodborne illnesses.
The World Health Organization regulates the use of TTIs for certain medical products. There is extensive regulation by the FDA on the use of TTIs on US seafood products.
Freezing food preserves it from the time it is prepared to the time it is eaten. Since early times, farmers, fishermen, and trappers have preserved grains and produce in unheated buildings during the winter season. Freezing food slows decomposition by turning residual moisture into ice, inhibiting the growth of most bacterial species. In the food commodity industry, there are two processes: mechanical and cryogenic. The freezing kinetics is important to preserve the food quality and texture. Quicker freezing generates smaller ice crystals and maintains cellular structure. Cryogenic freezing is the quickest freezing technology available due to the ultra low liquid nitrogen temperature −196 °C (−320 °F).
Foodborne illness is any illness resulting from the contamination of food by pathogenic bacteria, viruses, or parasites, as well as prions, and toxins such as aflatoxins in peanuts, poisonous mushrooms, and various species of beans that have not been boiled for at least 10 minutes.
Shelf life is the length of time that a commodity may be stored without becoming unfit for use, consumption, or sale. In other words, it might refer to whether a commodity should no longer be on a pantry shelf, or no longer on a supermarket shelf. It applies to cosmetics, foods and beverages, medical devices, medicines, explosives, pharmaceutical drugs, chemicals, tyres, batteries, and many other perishable items. In some regions, an advisory best before, mandatory use by or freshness date is required on packaged perishable foods. The concept of expiration date is related but legally distinct in some jurisdictions.
A data logger is an electronic device that records data over time or about location either with a built-in instrument or sensor or via external instruments and sensors. Increasingly, but not entirely, they are based on a digital processor, and called digital data loggers (DDL). They generally are small, battery-powered, portable, and equipped with a microprocessor, internal memory for data storage, and sensors. Some data loggers interface with a personal computer and use software to activate the data logger and view and analyze the collected data, while others have a local interface device and can be used as a stand-alone device.
Tamper-evident describes a device or process that makes unauthorized access to the protected object easily detected. Seals, markings, or other techniques may be tamper indicating.
Cold chain is defined as the series of actions and equipment applied to maintain a product within a specified low-temperature range from harvest/production to consumption. An unbroken cold chain is an uninterrupted sequence of refrigerated production, storage and distribution activities, along with associated equipment and logistics, which maintain a desired low-temperature interval to keep the safety and quality of perishable or sensitive products, such as foods and medicines. In other words, the term denotes a low temperature-controlled supply chain network used to ensure and extend the shelf life of products, e.g. fresh agricultural produce, seafood, frozen food, photographic film, chemicals, and pharmaceutical products. Such products, during transport and end-use when in transient storage, are sometimes called cool cargo. Unlike other goods or merchandise, cold chain goods are perishable and always en-route towards end use or destination, even when held temporarily in cold stores and hence commonly referred to as "cargo" during its entire logistics cycle. Adequate cold storage, in particular, can be crucial to prevent quantitative and qualitative food losses.
Food packaging is a packaging system specifically designed for food and represents one of the most important aspects among the processes involved in the food industry, as it provides protection from chemical, biological and physical alterations. The main goal of food packaging is to provide a practical means of protecting and delivering food goods at a reasonable cost while meeting the needs and expectations of both consumers and industries. Additionally, current trends like sustainability, environmental impact reduction, and shelf-life extension have gradually become among the most important aspects in designing a packaging system.
Food safety is used as a scientific method/discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness. The occurrence of two or more cases of a similar illness resulting from the ingestion of a common food is known as a food-borne disease outbreak. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potential health hazards. In this way, food safety often overlaps with food defense to prevent harm to consumers. The tracks within this line of thought are safety between industry and the market and then between the market and the consumer. In considering industry-to-market practices, food safety considerations include the origins of food including the practices relating to food labeling, food hygiene, food additives and pesticide residues, as well as policies on biotechnology and food and guidelines for the management of governmental import and export inspection and certification systems for foods. In considering market-to-consumer practices, the usual thought is that food ought to be safe in the market and the concern is safe delivery and preparation of the food for the consumer. Food safety, nutrition and food security are closely related. Unhealthy food creates a cycle of disease and malnutrition that affects infants and adults as well.
The term fish processing refers to the processes associated with fish and fish products between the time fish are caught or harvested, and the time the final product is delivered to the customer. Although the term refers specifically to fish, in practice it is extended to cover any aquatic organisms harvested for commercial purposes, whether caught in wild fisheries or harvested from aquaculture or fish farming.
Insulated shipping containers are a type of packaging used to ship temperature sensitive products such as foods, pharmaceuticals, organs, blood, biologic materials, vaccines and chemicals. They are used as part of a cold chain to help maintain product freshness and efficacy. The term can also refer to insulated intermodal containers or insulated swap bodies.
Pasteurized eggs are eggs that have been pasteurized in order to reduce the risk of foodborne illness in dishes that are not cooked or are only lightly cooked. They may be sold as liquid egg products or pasteurized in the shell.
The terms active packaging, intelligent packaging, and smart packaging refer to amplified packaging systems used with foods, pharmaceuticals, and several other types of products. They help extend shelf life, monitor freshness, display information on quality, improve safety, and improve convenience.
Produce traceability makes it possible to track produce from its point of origin to a retail location where it is purchased by consumers.
Pharmaceutical packaging is the packages and the packaging processes for pharmaceutical preparations. It involves all of the operations from production through drug distribution channels to the end consumer.
Biopreservation is the use of natural or controlled microbiota or antimicrobials as a way of preserving food and extending its shelf life. The biopreservation of food, especially utilizing lactic acid bacteria (LAB) that are inhibitory to food spoilage microbes, has been practiced since early ages, at first unconsciously but eventually with an increasingly robust scientific foundation. Beneficial bacteria or the fermentation products produced by these bacteria are used in biopreservation to control spoilage and render pathogens inactive in food. There are a various modes of action through which microorganisms can interfere with the growth of others such as organic acid production, resulting in a reduction of pH and the antimicrobial activity of the un-dissociated acid molecules, a wide variety of small inhibitory molecules including hydrogen peroxide, etc. It is a benign ecological approach which is gaining increasing attention.
Keep-it Technologies is a spin-off technology company from The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) in Ås, just outside Oslo in Norway. Keep-it Technologies has offices and manufacturing facilities at Furuset in Oslo. The company is primarily engaged in research and technology development of a shelf-life indicator for temperature-sensitive products, such as food, pharmaceuticals and chemicals. The company’s research efforts have received financial support from the Research Council of Norway’s Food Programme, as well as from Innovation Norway’s industrial R&D scheme (IFU).
A temperature data logger, also called temperature monitor, is a portable measurement instrument that is capable of autonomously recording temperature over a defined period of time. The digital data can be retrieved, viewed and evaluated after it has been recorded. A data logger is commonly used to monitor shipments in a cold chain and to gather temperature data from diverse field conditions.
Seafood species can be mislabelled in misleading ways. This article examines the history and types of mislabelling, and looks at the current state of the law in different locations.
An expiration date or expiry date is a previously determined date after which something should no longer be used, either by operation of law or by exceeding the anticipated shelf life for perishable goods. Expiration dates are applied to selected food products and to some other manufactured products like infant car seats where the age of the product may impact its safe use.
Food and biological process engineering is a discipline concerned with applying principles of engineering to the fields of food production and distribution and biology. It is a broad field, with workers fulfilling a variety of roles ranging from design of food processing equipment to genetic modification of organisms. In some respects it is a combined field, drawing from the disciplines of food science and biological engineering to improve the earth's food supply.