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Stay Within Range With A Temperature Log Checklist

The food, pharmaceutical, logistics and transportation, and information technology industries all require the use of temperature logs to ensure compliance with FDA regulations. Learn what to include in each log according to the industries in the article below. Simplify and improve your temperature monitoring with Lumiform’s digital checklists and templates.

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What Is a Temperature Log?


A temperature log sheet documents and monitors a climate-controlled environment to ensure temperature-sensitive food or equipment does not exceed or dip below its tolerance threshold. To do this, temperature measurements are taken at set intervals over a period of time and recorded in the log. Temperature monitoring is used in a variety of applications, ranging from food storage to vaccine refrigeration.


Monitoring temperature is primarily used for quality assurance. With a temperature template or log, you can comprehensively document temperature measurements in storage areas, refrigerators, and freezers. By doing so, you can prevent the spoilage of food or goods that may harm consumers and instigate litigative action.



This article briefly addresses:


1. Facts about the food industry and temperature logs


2. What you need to know about temperature log sheets in the pharmaceutical industry


3. Temperature log use in the transportation industry


4. Temperature log sheet use in the information and technology sector


5. Building a temperature monitoring checklist


6. Using an app for temperature monitoring


a digital thermometer and a mercury-in-glass thermometer in a red background

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Temperature Logs in the Food Industry


Improperly stored food poses a food safety risk. In fact, improper holding temperatures are a major contributor to foodborne illnesses. So concerning are these consequences that food distributors have to follow strict rules on the storage and cooking of food items, especially meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.


If food is not within the specified temperatures ranges at the time of manufacture or delivery, then the food must be disposed of. Failure to comply could result in heavy fines, lawsuits, loss of revenue, and even business licenses.


The FDA provides a list of tips to ensure that your food is safe to eat and distribute:


  • Refrigerator Temperature: 40°F or lower
  • Freezer Temperature: 0°F or lower
  • Don’t leave meat, seafood, eggs, produce, or poultry to sit at room temperature for more than two hours
  • Ground beef, veal, lamb, or pork: 160°F
  • Ground turkey or chicken:165°F
  • Fresh veal, lamb, or beef: 145°F
  • Poultry: 165°F
  • Fresh pork and ham: 145°F
  • Re-cooked ham: 165°F
  • Eggs: 160°F
  • Leftover Casserole: 165°F
  • Seafood: 145°F

Digital recording system removes any chance of operator error. Unlike humans, computers don’t forget to do temperature readings at the designated intervals, nor do they have to be trained on the proper procedures.


Once a computer is programmed with the correct temperature range for a specific environment, it will immediately alert the staff if those temperatures soar too high or dip too low.


If you are interested in digitizing your company’s food monitoring process, then check out this food temperature log template.



Temperature Logs in the Pharmaceutical Industry


Temperature logs are a familiar sight in the food distribution industry, but it might come as a mild surprise to some that they are no stranger to the pharmaceutical industry as well. Actually, they are quite important to maintaining the integrity of medical supplies. Incorrect temperatures in medical storage areas containing medications or even vaccines can lead to degradation of the substances they contain which, in turn, weakens or impairs their effectiveness and can lead to life-threatening consequences for consumers.


The World Health Organization (WHO) has regulations relating to the temperature storage of non sterile pharmaceutical products:


  • Temperature and humidity should be controlled, recorded, and monitored
  • Each pharmaceutical product should be manufactured, stored, and distributed at the correct temperature to prevent contamination
  • Room temperature should be conducive to a comfortable working environment for employees
  • Dehumidifiers and cooling systems should be regularly drained
  • Temperature and relative humidity should not exceed or fall below product requirements
  • The Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning system (HVAC)’s working condition should be monitored in the presence of air moisture

If your company wants a more reliable and efficient way to record and control the climate for pharmaceutical products, use a vaccine refrigerator temperature log sheet.



Temperature Logs in the Logistics and Transportation Industry


The logistics and transportation industry plays a vital role in customer health and safety—maybe even more than they realize. The food and pharmaceutical industries rely on temperature-controlled logistics as well as cool chains to maintain the safe use of their products.


The whole manufacturing and production process might very well have been carried out with the utmost precision, but if the product’s homeostasis wasn’t maintained during transportation, then the entire truck load of goods will have to be discarded to the dismay of the truck drivers and the anger of the suppliers.


There are two different types of packaging systems in use in the transportation industry: active and passive. Active packaging is where the vehicle is supplied with a thermostatic-controlled energy source, meaning the environment inside the truck will maintain a constant temperature. On the other hand, passive packaging controls a product's temperature through heating and cooling elements, such as insulators or dry ice. Between these two options, active packaging is by far the safest and most reliable means of quality assurance since an external power supply guarantees the goods will remain safely within their goldilocks zone.


There are also two different temperature ranges: Chiller range (35.6°F-46.4°F) and ambient range (59°F-77°F). However, maintaining these temperature ranges can be challenging, especially when you have to take into account the multitude of outside factors that all contribute to the vehicle’s temperature distribution. These factors include the immediate outside air temperature and the vehicle’s size and dimensions. However, preserving the product’s quality can be made easier with a daily temperature log.



Temperature Logs in the Information Technology Industry


According to the first law of thermodynamics, energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only transferred from one state to the next. All technology requires a power source, starting with chemical energy. This energy is then converted into electricity which, in turn, is converted into light and sound, which is then converted into heat. Lots and lots of heat, and that’s why major server rooms and data centers need to have an efficient cooling system.


The heat-sensitive and valuable hardware, software, and data must be protected. Therefore, it is not recommended to exhaust the operating temperature specified by the manufacturer. If the core temperature gets too high, then equipment failure is imminent. Equipment failure is also inversely proportional to the rate of heat exchange. Due to this, it’s of enormous importance that you’re alerted immediately if maximum temperatures are exceeded.



How to Structure a Temperature Monitoring Log Sheet


A typical temperature log contains certain fields to certify that the thermometers are reading correctly and that the cooling or heating systems are holding their programmed temperatures.


We’ll get into what each blank field comprises of below:


Temperature


This section is pretty straightforward. This will be where the person in charge of monitoring the refrigerator, freezer, and heating equipment will record their corresponding temperatures. Depending on the equipment and type of operation, (ie. if certain products or food items need to be checked) multiple fields might have to be filled out.


Time of Measurement


Recording the time is essential to ensuring the safe use of the stored goods. You cannot assume that the heating and cooling equipment is holding its correct temperature throughout the day. Machines malfunction, and depending on the type of product being stored, just a few hours too far above or below can compromise the product’s integrity and the consumer’s safety.


Date


Of course, when keeping thorough records, putting down the date is a must. The importance of proper recording keeping is of dire consequence as these documents can be used the in court of law. For example, your case is not going to look very compelling in front of a judge if the temperature logs weren’t filled out on the day someone who ate at your establishment came down with food poisoning.


Equipment


What equipment was used to store the products? Refrigerator, freezer, hold oven, food trucks, steam tables, heater proofers, coolers, transportation trucks, etc.? If your company uses more than one of these climate-control machines, then your checklist will need to differentiate between the temperature variances for each.


Method


How was the temperature log filled out? Was it manually entered with pencil and paper? Or was it automatically documented with the help of digital software?


Type of Measurement


Was the temperature measured in Fahrenheit or celsius? Select which type of item the measurement is referring to, whether that be hot food, cold food, or whatever type of product or storage method your company uses.


Notes


This section will have any miscellaneous information that you deem is important to document. For example, this could be that you noticed the seals on the freezer are leaking, or the thermometer appears to be cracked and needs replacement. This section will most likely include instructions on how to fix any problem that has arisen in the course of your checks.


Photo


Photographic evidence is always a nice addition to manual logging. This way, no documents can be forged by rushed staff. It also accounts for the possibility of human error. It’s a good idea to have a manager review the documents to make sure the temperature on the log matches the readings recorded in the picture. Having manager oversight on the temperature logging will help ensure that staff is complying with FDA regulations. That way, you cover all your bases and leave nothing to chance.


Staff Signature


There needs to be a paper trail leading back to the one in charge of monitoring for that day. That way, if there are any problems such as an inconsistency in temperature or a thermometer breakage, that person can be consulted later on.


In addition, a temperature log will note what actions were taken if something was wrong. In some documents, the condition of the storage unit is also documented so that, if necessary, parts can be replaced in a timely manner. To be certain about the accuracy of the data, at the end of each temperature log, the employee who performed the inspection will sign it.


a scientist looking through a microscope in a lab

The Advantages of Digital Temperature Recording


While some industries still use pen and paper, digital temperature logging is quickly gaining notoriety. Digital logging offers some distinct advantages:


For one, digital devices can be set up to log temperatures automatically, reducing the error rate and streamlining the logging process. In addition, a digital temperature log, as opposed to a hard copy, can be more easily shared, updated, and commented on.


Lumiform's app and desktop software provide the best alternative to old fashion paper documents. In addition, the collected data can be easily converted into charts and graphs for evaluation. Lumiform's powerful tool supports temperature monitoring in the following fields:


  • Simplified temperature acquisition via temperature sensors.
  • Convert any custom paper list into a digital checklist in minutes with the flexible form builder.
  • Easily create and customize digital templates for digital monitoring.
  • Record or photograph temperature readings in the monitored environment from within the app.
  • Lumiform's scheduling features ensure that employees are reminded when their next temperature reading is due.
  • All measurement results are automatically bundled into a report and can be sent to stakeholders.
  • Comprehensive analyses help to detect errors in the cool chain more quickly and, thus, continuously improve temperature monitoring.




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