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Temperature Log Sheet for Refrigeration
A temperature log sheet is perhaps the most widely used food safety checklist needed to monitor food safety. It is an essential piece of paperwork in your HACCP plan, used in food businesses, helping to ensure that the food is processed in the right conditions and stored correctly at the right temperature.
As part of a HACCP food safety plan, a temperature log sheet serves as a monitoring form and a verification procedure for steps that need any type of corrective action. Temperature control plays an important role in the food industry. Low temperatures are mostly used to extend the shelf-life of foods, whereas high temperatures are used for cooking. As a food manufacturer, it is one of your many tasks to ensure that the temperature levels for these processes are maintained at all necessary times.
A temperature log template can be applied for monitoring temperature on a refrigerator, freezer, pantry, oven and other cooking methods, and transportation vehicle. As such, important information such as time of recording, actual and target temperature, and date must all be present. Employees responsible for handling food sensitive to temperature can use this temperature log template to perform regular checks more efficiently.
In this article, we will guide you through the importance of a temperature log sheet for food business operations such as refrigerated storage and transport.
Why is the temperature log template important?
Ensuring that the required temperature is maintained is one of the basic food safety rules that all food businesses need to follow. It's essential to keep your food at the required temperature throughout the whole supply chain, including transportation and storage. As soon as the temperature falls out of the established standard range, the number of pathogens grows in the food and the likelihood of causing foodborne illnesses due to unsafe food increases.
The longer food stays in the danger zone, which is between 40 °F and 140 °F, the more dangerous it becomes. At this temperature range, pathogens are most active. A slightly higher storage temperature over a couple of hours is not a critical safety issue for vegetables but can be extremely dangerous for fish and meat products. Can you imagine ordering a salmon-sushi that includes raw fish and has been kept in a broken fridge? The temperature log template helps to prevent foodborne illnesses and protects your business.
Using cold storage or refrigerated transport vehicles preserves the food longer because microbiological activities are slowed down, if not stopped. In addition, most common microbiological pathogens cannot survive freezing temperatures and their multiplication is slowed down in chilled conditions. In freezing conditions, water becomes unavailable for microorganisms to use. Maintenance and verification procedures for keeping the prescribed low temperatures are vital to control food safety.
Temperature fluctuations during cold storage and transport can be critical to highly perishable foods such as raw meats that are ground or whole as well as for fruits and vegetables. As soon as the temperature rises because of faulty refrigeration, the inherent microorganisms in these products get the chance to recover and multiply. If left unmonitored and unresolved, this can cause the likelihood of exceeding standard levels to increase.
Similarly, a temperature log sheet is also needed when it comes to thawing. Your product must be uniformly thawed to prevent rapid multiplication of microorganisms on the surface of your product and prevent exposure to a contaminated environment. Using a temperature log sheet, your team can monitor whether the standard conditions are being met and apply corrective actions in case of loss of control.
What to keep in mind when registering refrigerator temperature logs?
Measuring the fridge's temperature might seem like a piece of cake, but when your team has to fill more than 20 refrigerator temperature logs every day, like in most food service companies, it may become a real pain. Keeping a fridge and freezer temperature log sheet helps you organize the information you need and makes it easier for you to remember what information do you need when monitoring.
To prevent food safety issues, here are some tips when monitoring temperature:
Use a reliable thermometer that measures the temperature accurately. Most fridges and freezers have temperature displays, so you only need to check and register the refrigerator temperature logs.
Schedule regular calibration procedures for built-in thermometers as well as hand-held ones to ensure that all data entries are accurate.
Make sure that the thermocouples are protected from any obstructions that can cause inaccurate readings.
Keep a separate log for each refrigerator within the facility to avoid confusion.
Make sure that all temperature log sheets are properly labeled and have all the information you need. Standards must also be written adjacent to the monitored temperature to serve as a reference value for verification.
Keep refrigerator temperature logs as close as possible and make sure that the correct fridge and freezer temperature log sheet is in place. This way, it's easy to notice for your team.
Store your temperature log sheets according to your HACCP plan documentation program. Temperature log sheets are commonly stored and filed for around 1-3 years.
Always record the correct date, time, refrigerator number, and temperature.
A bonus tip for food handling business owners, you can use Food Safety monitoring software to help your team keep all daily tasks in mind. You can get a free printable fridge and freezer temperature log sheet as part of our HACCP builder software at FoodDocs.
How often do I need to check the temperature in fridges and freezers?
Depending on your company's profile and HACCP processes, the frequency of measuring and registering your freezer's temperature can be different.
Here are some considerations when establishing monitoring procedures for your temperature logs:
Level of risk
The higher the food safety risk, the more often you need to check your freezer's temperature. In some companies, it's twice a day, usually once a day, or it can even be once per week. High-risk foods include, but are not limited to, products with eggs, low-acid foods, raw meats (whole and ground), milk, prepared vegetable salad, and fish.
In some countries, the frequency of monitoring can also be based on the weather, season, or climate and the insulation of your storage facility. During excessively hot weather, refrigerators usually take longer to reach the desired temperature. As such, temperature monitoring must be done more frequently.
Calibration and integrity of freezers and thermometers
Frequency can also depend on the calibration of your refrigerators, thermometers, and thermostats. As much as it is highly unadvised to use faulty or uncalibrated thermometers, there are unavoidable circumstances that lead to such situations. In this case, a backup manual thermometer must be used to double-check the reading and frequency must be increased. In addition, if your freezers or refrigerators are not consistently functioning well, the frequency of monitoring must be increased until maintenance and repairs are applied to your equipment.
Size of refrigerators and storage area
For larger storage areas, the frequency of monitoring can also sometimes depend on the location of the fridge and freezer. A regular temperature mapping every 2 to 3 years of the whole storage facility is advised to determine which spot receives the lowest and highest temperatures.
Below is an example of a basic temperature log template we can provide you with at FoodDocs. This template can fit your requirements as it is editable. The printable fridge and freezer temperature log sheet from our HACCP software can help you monitor your temperature requirements with ease.
How can I help my team to keep in mind filling temperature logs?
Filling all of your temperature logs on time can be challenging because of the number of devices in use, and your team is always occupied serving customers. That's why it's crucially important to find a solution that will help your team and not burden them with additional obligations. Our HACCP monitoring software at FoodDocs is currently the best way to help your team.
As part of our fully customizable HACCP plan, we offer a food temperature log sheet template that can be edited based on the requirements of your cold storage conditions. This aspect makes our templates the perfect way to start getting your temperature logs accurate.
Here are some tips on how a digital solution can help you and your team:
1. Save your employees' time. Our Food Safety Management System pre-fills monitoring sheets automatically according to previously inserted data, Like this, your team will save tons of their time.
2. Help your team to remember all daily tasks. App notifications and pre-filled tasks about upcoming monitoring keep your food safety under control. Our HACCP software mobile app notifies you of your important daily tasks and when critical limits are breached. Access to monitoring information even becomes easier and more efficient because everything is stored in a single smart software that can even help you organize your data.
3. Spend less time on supervision. Our digital software enables a real-time overview of food hygiene completion in the team and what units or departments have issues. Building and monitoring a HACCP plan has never been easy. Our HACCP builder can help you make all required documents in just 1 hour or less. If you continue using our services, we can also help you monitor your operations and you can spend less time supervising to keep your HACCP plan effective and use it on other important things.
4. A digital solution helps to improve your employees' food safety awareness and food quality. Notifications about scheduled tasks enable quicker response and damage control. Our digital solution also keeps everyone updated with the latest revisions on food regulations and laws.
What about smart fridges and IoT sensors?
Many companies use smart fridges or IoT (Internet of Things) sensors nowadays. This means that the fridge or freezer's temperatures will automatically be sent to the maintenance team when the temperature is out of range. It seems convenient, but there are some points you should keep in mind:
1. Relay of information must be programmable to first reach the quality assurance inspector then the other involved employees. As soon as the critical limit is breached, corrective action must be applied as soon as possible - whether to close the door, immediately use the product, or dispose of it. If the information is only sent to the maintenance company, the corrective action cannot be taken straight away, and food safety and hygiene cannot be guaranteed in time.
2. IoT sensors must be able to penetrate thick walls and stainless materials to avoid weakening the connections between devices. Food safety is not guaranteed when the information about out-of-range temperatures does not reach the relevant people in time. A sense of urgency is important when it comes to applying food safety corrective actions.
3. Smart fridges and freezers rely on the internet to deliver the data to your main database. In the absence of a strong connection, monitoring can be delayed and quality assurance inspectors may miss any non-compliance.
4. IoT device sensors are very sensitive. They can also be easily damaged when mishandled. Damages would mean that faulty reading can be recorded. In such events, a manual thermometer must be ready to double-check temperature readings.
Is the temperature log sheet mandatory?
Yes, the temperature log sheet is mostly mandatory for any food business. In addition, cold storage using refrigerators, chillers, and freezers is a common critical control point for food businesses that deal with raw meats and other perishable goods. Your HACCP food safety program must include setting critical limits, monitoring forms, and corrective actions related to temperature control. To satisfy these requirements, a proper temperature log sheet is mandatory.
During regulatory agency visits for scheduled audits, temperature log documentation is reviewed. Improper and inaccurate record-keeping procedures can get your business and your whole team in trouble. That's why your temperature log sheets have to be ready for auditing at any time. Up-to-date temperature log sheets are good evidence that your facility takes food safety seriously and is ready for a food safety inspection.
Even if there are no regular audits, a fridge and freezer temperature log sheet is still mandatory to ensure that you are producing safe food. Failure to apply the established standard limits means that food safety issues will arise and that food hazards will not be controlled. In addition to this, even if you are able to produce safe foods, food items that have been exposed to very low freezing temperatures tend to lose their correct consistency and can damage their quality. This tells you that applying standard parameters and monitoring cold storage temperature is important from both food safety and quality aspects.
Digital Food Safety Management System and temperature log sheets builder
You can get all the most common HACCP plan document examples from our free HACCP plan template hub. Not sure where to start with your temperature log sheet? Don't have enough time? Our platform can guide you through the HACCP process and get your temperature log documents done in no time so you can focus on what you really need to – managing your business.
Our temperature log template has most of the necessary data that you need when monitoring temperature requirements. The template includes the date, time, temperature reading, corrective action taken in case of non-compliance, and the initials of the attending quality assurance inspector. Are you looking for other information columns that you want to see in a temperature log sheet? That's not a problem because our templates are very editable. You can tailor your temperature log sheet to the best fit for your food handling business. You can add the standards of your company as a reference and a column for remarks.
In case you have too much work on hand and have the tendency to miss a temperature check, install the mobile FoodDocs app and get notifications to remind you. Join more than 10,000 satisfied customers who have tried our services and got their HACCP plans in less than an hour.
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Controlling temperature for cold storage and transportation is part of an effective HACCP plan and ensures that the food you produce is safe for consumption.
A temperature log sheet is important to monitor the storage and transport temperatures of your food.
Our temperature log sheet at FoodDocs contains the most important information needed for temperature monitoring and can be edited to tailor your food processing operations.