When we purchase fruits or vegetables from our local super market, we rarely stop to think about how the produce arrived there. We can guess that it was packed correctly since it appears to have arrived in good condition. We hope that the delicate produce has been labeled correctly and handled properly and that it arrived on time to avoid spoilage. Little do we know that technology, in the form of data loggers, have our best interests at hand.
Data loggers are one piece of the puzzle that ensures that the produce shipping and refrigerated freight industry components work together in a precise manner. In the U.S., shipment of temperature sensitive articles, like produce, are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And according to the USDA, the maximum number of days allowable for various fresh fruits and vegetables trucked to locations, is 5 days from the shipping point. For farmers growing fresh produce, data loggers provide an accurate record of humidity and temperatures experienced during the growth, preparation and transportation of their produce, thus helping to ensure its freshness and quality. Data loggers track temperatures from the moment the produce is picked to the time it is delivered to the customer or supermarket. For shippers, it is vital that conditions within the transporting vehicles are maintained within the required levels.
For ultimate freshness, there needs to be uninterrupted flow of a temperature controlled environment (cold chain) beginning at the farm, throughout the delivery, and finally to the consumer. Data loggers successfully monitor the shipping environment, duration of the shipment and critical control points throughout the process—information useful for both farmers and shippers. If the produce arrives less than perfect, the information obtained from this technology can be used as evidence in loss claims resulting from temperature excursions during shipping or storage.