Internet of Things (IoT) in food safety

Internet of Things (IoT) can have a positive impact on food safety

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick and 3000 die from foodborne diseases. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), each year almost 1 in 10 people in the world fall ill after eating contaminated food and 420,000 die.

For this reason, food monitoring needs to be more affective. FDA has realised that need and has transformed the food safety protocol by shifting the focus from reaction to prevention of the contamination.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has seven rules that help ensure food safety throughout the many stages of the food supply chain. Find out more in our article: ‘Are you in compliance with FSMA?’

The prevention of food or beverage contamination is the main challenge. The adulteration and contamination of products usually occur under specific environmental conditions and abuse of sanitation rules.

IoT could be the solution to these problems in many ways since it allows for the consistent and constant monitoring of equipment.

IoT in food production line

By placing sensors on equipment, maintenance engineers can monitor temperatures and moisture and confirm any possible issues on the equipment line. An IoT system provides real-time information about the status of the equipment and sends automated alerts once a problem arises. So, when there is an issue, it can be detected and resolved fast.

It can also track equipment sanitation, maintenance and repair records and create records for audits.

The benefits don’t stop there. IoT doesn’t only help in the prevention of contamination but also in the decrease of product cost. To be more precise, thanks to IoT technology maintenance engineers are able to notice changes in the equipment immediately and repair or calibrate them quickly. This way, there is a decrease in downtime.

IoT in restaurants

Cold storage and cooking temperature are of major importance when comes to food safety. Bacteria grow rapidly between 5oC to 63 oC. So, food businesses should ensure that their food is not preserved within this range. IoT can help managers to know that their freezers, fridges and food warmers are working properly all the time.

Another example of the use of IoT technology on restaurant’s food safety practices is for tracking the handwashing. According to the food safety magazine soap dispensers can count the use of soap and in a particular case their use lead to a dramatic increase of soap usage.

Although Internet of Things hasn’t been used yet to its full potential, it has come to stay. The benefits of IoT technology in the prevention of food contamination and cost decrease are multiple. But until it dominates the production line and your equipment is able to notify you for any possible issues, make sure that you maintain them and calibrate your instruments according to your SOPs.