Best Thermometers for Cold Chain Storage & Transportation
All perishable items go through a number of storage and transportation processes between production and consumption. This includes food such as meat and dairy and medical products like vaccines and medication. During each stage of their journey, it’s critical for the items to maintain a safe temperature. Otherwise, they could be unsafe for consumption, even if they’re delivered to the consumer at the correct temperature.
Monitoring the temperature of the produce throughout its entire journey using the right instruments means you can be confident in the safety of your product, as well as being able to pinpoint any issues in the chain.
In this guide, we’ll discuss the best thermometers for different applications and stages of the chain.
Data loggers for cold chain monitoring
Temperature data loggers, thermometers that record temperatures at timed intervals, are ideal for cold chain monitoring. Especially for transportation, where it may not be possible for a person to manually record temperatures periodically. With data loggers, you can:
- Save time on recording temperatures manually
- Prevent human errors
- Collect time and date-stamped readings
- Maintain an organised and accessible digital archive
- Receive digital alerts with Wi-Fi models, enabling faster corrective actions
All ETI data loggers come with free software for viewing, downloading and sharing your data.
Food and vaccine simulant probes
Typically, fridge thermometers are used to monitor cold storage temperatures. These are ideal as a quick general guide to the air temperature inside a fridge or cold storage facility.
However, liquids and semi-solids are slower to respond to changes in air temperature than a fridge thermometer. For example, if a fridge door is left open, a fridge thermometer will quickly show that the temperature inside the fridge has risen. But this doesn’t mean that the temperature of the perishable items has changed.
There are alternative options which give a more accurate gauge of the temperature of the perishables themselves. Simulant probes are designed to mimic certain substances, such as food and pharmaceutical items. They’ll respond to air temperature changes at the correct rate, so you can be certain if items have fallen out of range.
Best thermometer for transport
This compact and water-resistant data logger is ideal for monitoring air temperatures during transportation. It’s available in a range of colours for coordinating with different applications and avoiding cross-contamination.
Connect the logger to a PC using a USB-C cable to program your desired intervals, high/low limits and delayed start. Simply set it in place, and the logger will record the temperature at your timed intervals. Once you have finished logging, reconnect it to your PC to download, share and print the data.
Best thermometer for cold food storage
A Wi-Fi logger is the best choice for monitoring cold storage temperatures. Like a USB logger, it records temperatures at timed intervals. But instead of needing to connect it to your PC to download the data, it will automatically transmit the readings to your computer or device using a Wi-Fi connection so you can view the results remotely and in real-time. You can also opt-in to receive email or app alerts for out-of-range readings, meaning corrective actions can be taken quickly to prevent costly spoilage.
The logger has two channels for monitoring multiple items at once. We recommend pairing it with a Food Simulant Temperature Probe for accurate readings.
Best for vaccines
Like the ThermaData Wi-Fi logger, the ThermaData Pharm has Wi-Fi connectivity for remote monitoring in real-time. However, this model is specifically designed for accurately monitoring the temperature of vaccines and medicines. The probe is contained inside a bottle of liquid, sometimes called a glycol bottle, that is designed to simulate medicinal items so it will respond to temperature changes at a more accurate rate.
Not looking to digitalise your system with a Wi-Fi logger just yet? Check out the ThermaGuard Pharm for accurate pharmacy temperatures without the connected features.
Two of the most important things to consider when choosing thermometers for the cold chain are accuracy and traceability.
Selecting a probe that is designed to simulate your cold items is a more accurate choice than a fridge thermometer. These are available in both food and pharmaceutical options.
Data loggers are the best choice for maintaining a secure record of time and date-stamped readings, particularly during processes like transportation where taking manual readings might not be an option.
Selecting products such as these will enable you to be confident that your product has stayed at a safe temperature throughout its entire journey from production to purchase.