Food borne illnesses are preventable and underreported public health problems. Children, old people and those with reduced immunity are at greater risk of contracting
them. The WHO has estimated that globally, food borne illnesses caused between 310,000 and 600,000 deaths in 2010. In 1993, the United States government issued the first FDA Food Code, making it mandatory for restaurants, grocery stores, meat shops, etc. to follow specific technical and legal requirements for handling food and food products. With increased awareness and more stringent guidelines and standards, food safety is centre-stage today. Most of the food hazards can be avoided by keeping the food in safe temperature limits in the cold chain from the farm to the table, and carefully monitoring the conditions. Most installations use standalone controllers to monitor and control cold rooms, requiring the user to be physically present near the controller all the time. Some installations also use standalone data loggers, but they only serve to perform an autopsy after the damage is done. A few installations use real-time temperature monitoring systems that provide one way communication from the controller to the user, necessitating a visit to the site to identify and fix the cause of the alarm received by the user. The best-in-class solutions for food safety are Real-time Monitoring
and Management Systems (RMMS), which allow two way communication between the user and the instrument at any time and from anywhere in the world. They require a computer or smart device with a 3G/data network or an internet connection. Through RMMS, users can access data from the controller at a remote location, perform diagnostics and correct the problem before the food gets spoilt. RMMS also provides the user access to historical data from the controller such as temperature, pressure, RH, voltage, current and status of compressor, evaporator fans, condenser fans, etc. that can be retained for long term filing in case of disputes. Users can initiate defrost or change the set point or other parameters from their remote location. If the alarm situation cannot be resolved remotely, remote diagnostics can allow service personnel to carry proper spare parts and tools before heading for the site. RMMS technologies were very expensive in the past and were installed only on high-end large projects. Today, reliable and aff ordable solutions are available to small users. Sitrad RMMS from Full Gauge Controls is now available in India, with free software and smart-phone apps.
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