Food safety involves monitoring temperatures of storage units – usually fridges and freezers. This is usually done manually by checking the temperature of food with a probe thermometer twice per day.
Remote monitoring (RM) of temperatures is an alternative compliance method. It involves using temperature thermocouples (or probes) that transmit information to an operating system to monitor the temperature of storage units. It can also create records and trigger alarms if the set parameters are breached.
Remote temperature monitoring requirements
If you are considering using RM technology, you must discuss it with your local council. Systems vary greatly, and must be considered on a case-by-case basis by your local environmental health officer.
The registering council must agree to your proposed method of temperature monitoring before you can use it in place of manual temperature checking. Your council may have further requirements that must be satisfied to meet your obligations as a food business operating in Victoria.
RM systems use various technologies, but certain criteria must be met for the system to be considered an adequate alternative method of compliance. The system must:
- monitor and report twice daily temperature readings (at a minimum)
- trigger an alarm when a storage unit is not holding food within the set temperature limits
- document corrective actions that were taken when temperature control issues occur
- have a thermocouple accuracy of ±1 °C
- be validated so that it produces consistently accurate results
- be calibrated each year (thermocouples and alarms)
- have a maintenance program in place to ensure continuous operation of the system.
The department has developed a guide to help food businesses that want to use an RM system. The guide explains how the RM system manages temperatures.