MadgeTech Blog — Meat Processing

MadgeTech Cooling Flags Benefit the Meat and Poultry Industry

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The cooking of meat is a regulated process that requires temperature values to meet standards within the regulated period of time, even throughout the cooling process. Exclusively used in the meat and poultry industry, cooling flags can track the cooling of smoked or cooked meats.

Verification of the cooling process must be available for compliance validation. Data loggers are used to record and track the specified cooking and cooling temperatures. Within the MadgeTech 4 Data Logging Software, the cooling flags feature inserts annotations within a graph that specify (flag) when certain temperature thresholds are met as the meat cools.

When the temperature drops and a cooling flag is reached, but the temperature then rises above this cooling flag by 5 degrees or more, the software knows something is wrong. An alert is then generated and any other cooling flags that are set will be cancelled. This notifies the user immediately, providing the opportunity to correct the problem before the product is compromised. 

In the meat industry, the RFOT Wireless Meat Data Logger is widely used and built to last. This data logger can withstand the harsh smokehouse environment while accurately recording internal meat temperature with its built-in rugged probe.

With a Madgetech wireless data logger, cooling flags are displayed within the software while the data logger is in use, giving you real-time updates. The use of multiple cooling flags allows you to see how much time has passed between each flag while also allowing you to monitor the cooling process for multiple, consecutive cycles.

A cooling flag data summary is displayed in the Report Properties, clearly and concisely, making the information available for records or reference. This feature saves time and simplifies the reporting process required for product safety validation.

MadgeTech continues to develop features and improvements that assist meat, poultry and food processors with simplified compliance and validation. To learn more about the MadgeTech Data Logger Software, click here.

What’s Spoiling your Food? Find Out the Top 3 Factors

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We have all been there, we go grocery shopping then let the food we just bought go bad. There’s some good news though, it’s not all your fault! It’s possible the food began deteriorating before you brought it home.

Factors that can cause food to spoil include microbial, chemical and physical reactions which affect the taste, smell and appearance of a product.

Microbial

Microorganisms are common in foods, especially bacteria, yeasts and molds. These microorganisms are all around us and naturally present in some foods. However, if the proper precautions are not taken, microorganisms feed off the moisture and can quickly lead to contamination.

When exposed to unsuitable storage conditions, between 40 °F and 140 °F, microorganisms can quickly multiply and release dangerous toxins, even if the food consumed is cooked to a safe temperature. Here are the main culprits:

  • Clostridium perfringens grows in conditions with little or no oxygen and is commonly found on raw meat and poultry.
  • Bacillus cereus is the most common cause of food poisoning. This bacterium grows at a variety of temperatures and pH and is found in decaying organic matter.

Chemical

Chemical changes involving exposure to oxygen and light are the second most common cause of spoilage. Oxygen can cause food to spoil in several ways:

  • Encouraging the growth of  microorganisms, resulting in mold and yeast growth.
  • Oxidizing enzymes speed up chemical reactions in food, resulting in browning and foul odors.
  • Oxidizing lipids attack fatty portions in food, resulting in foul odors and an off flavor.

It’s inevitable, food will be exposed to light. Whether natural or artificial, light can cause photodegradation which can cause lead to discoloration, off-flavor and vitamin loss of a product.

Physical

Raw produce is especially prone to physical spoilage due to bruises and cracks. Physical damage can also be contributed to improper packaging, broken packages and even dented cans. The damage endured provides an open door for microorganisms, living creatures and environmental factors.

In terms of temperature, excessive heat will speed up enzyme reactions. Cold temperatures will cause accidental freezing and thawing, resulting in cracking. But, a majority of spoilage takes place at moderate temperatures.

Summary

There is no management system for food spoilage, only control measures you can implement with help from a HACCP plan. Other than the safe handling of food, it all comes down to properly controlling and maintaining temperatures.

To ensure food and consumer safety, keep food out of the “Danger Zone” (between 40 °F and 140 °F). The higher the temperature gets; the faster food will deteriorate. According to foodsafetysite.com, for every 18 °F rise in temperature within the temperature range where most food is handled (50 °F to 100° F), the rate of chemical reaction is approximately doubled.

MadgeTech data loggers ensure the safety and quality of a product from cooking and cooling to shipping and storage. To learn more about how MadgeTech can provide validation throughout the food production process email us at [email protected] or give us a call at (603) 456-2011.

Case Study: Meat Monitoring Made Easy with the Help of MadgeTech

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With a successful business at hand and continuous high production rates, quality products are a must for McDonald’s Meats. Using MadgeTech’s RFOT, they are able to closely monitor all products, ensuring safe temperatures at all times. 

To read more about the case study and how MadgeTech was able to provide McDonald’s Meats with a perfect meat monitoring solution.

To read the case study in full, click here.