Timestrip Attending American Food Manufacturing Summit 2019, Chicago, Il

Timestrip Attending American Food Manufacturing Summit 2019, Chicago, Il

Timestrip will be attending the Generis American Food Manufacturing Summit in Chicago on November 12th & 13th, 2019. We will be at booth #17

We will be demonstrating our irreversible temperature indicator products for food.  These include our 37°F/3°C Seafood indicator, 41°F/5°C, 46°F/8°C & 50°F/10°C irreversible ascending temperature indicators at the summit. Our 3°C Seafood indicator is designed around FDA guidance, the gold standard for Health & Safety and HACCP systems.

We will be at booth #17, please come and get a sample of our Irreversible  Temperature Indicators to test and take away with you. Click here for more information about our 5°C, 8°C & 10°C indicators and here for information about our 3°C Seafood indicator

Timestrip Food temperature range

Timestrip temperature monitoring labels make tracking temperature breaches across a multitude of cold chain food industry applications a simple, cost-effective process.

In fact, we offer the most cost-effective solution of our type in food standard and food safety monitoring, which is why our technology has already been adopted by a number of innovative businesses. Our precise, efficient, user-friendly temperature indicator labels are helping to ensure effective cold chain management around the world.Timestrip Seafood

The Generis American Food Manufacturing Summit is designed to bring food and beverage processors and suppliers together to discuss current trends, strategic insights and best practices in an ever-evolving environment.

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Efficient, effective healthcare with Timestrip®

Whether in a major teaching hospital, a walk-in clinic or a doctor’s surgery, any type of healthcare boils down to two broad objectives: improved patient outcomes and the best possible use of resources.

Although historically reconciling patient health and the harsh realities of budgetary constraints have at times led to difficult choices, the fact is that by integrating technology and innovation into decision making around resource allocation, both objectives can be achieved at the same time.

Indeed, thanks to its high tech / low cost Time and Temperature Indicator labels, Timestrip® is able to provide healthcare providers and the pharmaceutical sector with a broad range of practical, user-friendly solutions that:

✔ Ensure product quality

✔ Reduce product waste

✔ Ensure regulatory compliance

✔ Reduce time and temperature monitoring costs

But what does this look like in practice?

Improving quality control and efficiency

blood transportation compliance

A bag of whole blood with a Timestrip® Blood Temp 10°C

Tenet Healthcare is US healthcare provider that faced the challenge of needing to effectively manage how it processed bags of whole blood. On the one hand, it faced the need to comply with local regulatory requirements related to the use of effective temperature monitoring for blood products; and on the other, it had to discard any bag of blood that had been exposed to a temperature above 10°C for more than 30 minutes.

The company needed to be absolutely certain that any unused bag of whole blood was 100% safe to be returned to storage for future use. It had also noted ongoing difficulties in using other blood temperature indicators. Potentially, the latter could lead to doubts about product safety, which in turn would require that bag of blood to be discarded, possibly unnecessarily.

Its use of Timestrip® Blood Temp 10 – 10°C Blood Irreversible Transit Temperature Indicator noted the following advantages:

✔ Improved quality of care

✔ Improved workflow efficiency

✔ Maintenance of quality control during transportation and storage

✔ Support in complying with regulatory guidelines

Cost-effective regulatory compliance

Timestrip® PLUS™ 8°C

Marathon Distributors is a pharmaceutical and healthcare logistics services provider in Cyprus and is involved in the distribution of pharmaceutical products throughout the island. The main cold chain management issue it faced was around compliance with local and EU regulations, specifically the country’s Law on Human Pharmaceuticals 70(I) 2001 and the EU guidelines on Good Distribution & Manufacturing Practices. These mandated the company to ensure that the pharmaceuticals it delivered were not exposed to a temperature above 8°C for more than 8 hours during transportation.

Although other products helped achieve regulatory compliance, the company began using Timestrip® PLUS™ 8°C 8 Hrs (TP065) Irreversible Time and Temperature Indicators because they were much more competitively priced.

Overall the company reported:

✔ Timestrip Indicators were 50% cheaper

✔ Delivery costs were 50% lower

✔ Delivery times were faster

✔ Positive end-user feedback around ease of use

Easy temperature monitoring for vaccine transport

Cambridgeshire Community Service NHS Trust is a UK healthcare provider in south-east England. Part of its work is the delivery of school-age immunisations to schools in its area. This includes for instance flu nasal immunisations for primary schools and HPV vaccinations and Meningitis ACWY and TdIPV for secondary schools.

For the delivery of vaccines, electric Labcold Portable Vaccine Carriers and pharmaceutical-grade vaccine carriers are used. In order to maintain the efficacy of the various transported vaccines, two different temperature ranges need to be managed: 2°C to 8°C and -25°C to 25°C.

In order to ensure the delivery of viable, unspoiled vaccines, the Trust thus had a requirement for a dual, low-cost solution for use by its delivery teams.

Timestrip® PLUS (TP 217) 25°C

C

To achieve this, two Timestrip products have been used in each vaccine carrier:

● a Timestrip® PLUS (TP 065) to indicate if the temperature went above 8°C

● a Timestrip® PLUS (TP 217) to indicate if the temperature exceeded 25°C, and if so, for how long

The feedback from the delivery teams has been extremely positive, specifically around:

✔ Easy to read visual data

✔ Ease of use

✔ Reliability

Reliable test kit time data

Clinical Innovations is a US maker of obstetrics devices that wanted to develop a non-invasive test kit for the diagnosis of any rupture of membranes (ROM). Although treatable, spontaneous ROM is a serious medical condition and a major cause of preterm births. Thus, an accurate diagnosis of ROM can be a key factor in determining timely and appropriate medical intervention. Similarly, a false diagnosis of ROM can lead to unnecessary hospitalisation, medication and even induced premature delivery.

Timestrip was able to provide Clinical Innovations with Time Indicators for its ROM Plus® self-contained test kit. These give clinicians the essential and immediate data they need to reduce the dangers of any premature ROM for expectant mothers and their babies.

Clinical Innovations ROM Plus with Timestrip
The ROM Plus® test kit with its built-in Timestrip time indicator and activation button

The test kit uses Timestrip technology with an in-built 20-minute time monitoring indicator that generates the required data within 5-20 minutes, with 5,10 and 20 minutes clearly indicated on the Timestrip. Its key benefits are:

✔ Clear visual data

✔ Ease of use

✔ Improved health outcomes

Hygienic healthcare environment

Beyond pharmaceuticals and blood products, healthcare also involves various types of disposable items that need replacing regularly. Especially for the sick, hygiene in the clinical environment is an essential aspect of patients being able to make a full recovery.

Assuming the absence of any complications, catheters for instance need to be replaced every 30 days for Foley catheters and every 60-90 days for silicone catheters. Catheter bags however need to be replaced every 5-7 days. If these items are not replaced at appropriate intervals, opportunities are created for harmful pathogens to develop.

Timestrip produces a broad range of Time Indicators

Unsurprisingly, this has also been shown to be the case for hospital privacy curtains. Dr Kevin Shek was the lead study author into the rate of contamination of hospital privacy curtains in a burns/plastic ward. In a report about the study findings in Nursing Times, he said:

“We know that privacy curtains pose a high risk for cross-contamination because they are frequently touched but infrequently changed. The high rate of contamination that we saw by the fourteenth day may represent an opportune time to intervene, either by cleaning or replacing the curtains.”

Especially in busy hospital departments such as Accident & Emergency and ICU, hospital privacy curtains can quickly become contaminated with bacteria such as methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile (C. diff). Thanks to Timestrip® Time Monitoring Indicator panels that change color after a set period of time, clinical staff are alerted when a privacy curtain needs to be changed. They help a hospital achieve:

✔ Best use of resources with a low-cost solution

✔ Compliance with guidelines around frequency of change

✔ Less time needed to monitor when that change needs to occur

✔ Hygienically clean hospital environment for patients

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Time Out of Temperature Controlled Environment – TOTCE

Using a Chemical Time and Temperature Label

There are many ways to measure temperature change and for recording how long a temperature-controlled substance, material, or chemical compound, is maintained outside of its normal required temperature limits for stability, or future use. Time Out is not a new term, or monitoring application, but it is a complex one and certainly needed. The most common is for Pre-Preg and Carbon Fiber materials that must be maintained within strict temperature guidelines for flexibility and strength requirements, plus many Chemical compounds and liquid API’s (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients). These strict limits also apply to certain bio-logics and vaccines that can only be “out-of-environment” for short periods of time whilst they are being worked with, formulated, or packaged.

Timestrip PLUS 10C 8hour

These tracking solutions range from RFID tracking and monitoring with expensive tags and readers to complex solution software applications that read and record these expensive electronic devices, attached to the item being monitored, as these pass in and out of the safe temperature zones.

On the low-end monitoring is done by timers with alarms and some form of temperature recorder to show the temperature limits that the materials were exposed to. Combine both elements and you get a Time and Temperature limit that the materials were within showing how long this was for.

But in some applications, simplicity may be a better solution like – a time and temperature breach indicator label, instead of reading separate items and manually recording these for record purposes.

temperature breach indicatorsTimestrip Plus labels and Run Timer Labels are used for many applications ranging from monitoring event times related to an expiration of effect use life to monitoring vaccine and bio’ shipments as these pass through a logistics operation, or down the cold chain supply chain. However, if you take a Timestrip Plus label that contains a time element and a temperature limit indicator for an excursion, or the work environment temperature, you have a truly unique and simple way of measuring TOTCE!

The advantage that these labels offer is quite simple by the fact that once the label is outside of its “strike” temperature the chemical will flow down the time indicator scale to show how long the label is outside of the lower product stability-controlled temperature environment. When the material or chemical substance with the label attached is returned to the temperature-controlled environment the chemical will stop flowing and only now show the “Out-Time”. If this item is taken in and out many times the label will begin to form a total aggregated TOTCE as the chemical flows and stops each time it moves in and out of the two environments.

A record of each individual “Out-Time” can be captured by taking a photo with a Smart Phone which will show the time and date that it was taken, and this can be stored as a permanent record linked to the serial number on the label itself that will be clearly seen in the photograph.

Sometimes simple is the best approach based upon the old adage of the “KISS” philosophy, so contact Timestrip today if you want to find out more about this TOTCE solution offering.

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Operational Risk Assessment in the Logistics, Pharmaceutical & Food supply chains

The big word in the logistics and supply chain “world” is RISK, and a risk assessment being performed, or at least having a mitigation plan in place, is becoming part of many certification requirements, like ISO 9001, and other pending or recently introduced federal regulations.

It will be no surprise, I am sure, when I mention certain facts like – “Where humans are involved in a process there will be errors, and 90% plus of all supply chain errors are human errors”; but how do you avoid these?

Firstly, let me say there will always be Risk not only in the common elements of the supply chain but also and especially with the way that you handle any cold chain or temperature-controlled products.

So how do you manage these risks?

There are 4 common and accepted ways that Risk can be managed, or mitigated:

  1. Risk Avoidance: Changes made to your processes and players that ensures risks are no longer an issue.
  2. Risk Mitigation: Reduce the severity of the loss or prevent the likelihood of the risk from occurring.
  3. Risk Acceptance: Avoidance of a potential risk area is not possible or economically feasible, so it is acceptable and will not impact your business.
  4. Risk Deflection: After the risk has been identified and quantified, transfer that risk to the control of another player or partner in the process – maybe add it as a clause to be addressed in a vendor contract.

So how do you establish a Risk Mitigation Plan?

  1. Review and audit your supply chain to assess where risk does, or may exist
  2. Assess what the impact of these risks may be and create a list with the highest probability items at the top to address first
  3. Define your risk mitigation strategies for the highest-level items and work down the list from High to Low
  4. Implement the strategies and document them.

What else should I do, or know?

  1. Even though your Risk Management plan includes good SOP’s and WI’s make sure that people are adequately trained in these disciplines
  2. Conduct self-audits regularly
  3. The cost of a Cold Chain Monitoring device or solution, is far less expensive than the cost of disposal of a temperature compromised shipment
  4. All Quality Systems and Risk Aversion Plans should have one over-arching goal – Quality of Product and Consumer Safety!!!!

At Timestrip we are acutely aware of all kinds of risks that can exist in all kinds of supply chains from Pharmaceutical to Food and even beyond to special chemicals and laboratory testing time lines.

For a full range of our products please visit our products page

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The Fresh Cold Chain

The Fresh Cold Chain

Time and distance are the twin challenges when managing cold chain logistics for the transportation of fresh food perishables

Fruit and vegetables, packaged salads, dairy produce, eggs and even flowers – consumers the world over depend on supply chains that can bring perishable goods to retailers’ shelves speedily and in the best possible condition. Their instantly made purchasing decisions depend on products looking as appealing and unblemished as they do in promotional advertising.

At Timestrip, we see this every day. One of our aquaculture clients uses our Irreversible Time and Temperature Indicators in the export of seafood to the US market. He reports that how his products look upon arrival directly impacts on whether a delivery is rejected or not. His use of Timestrip smart labels ensures that his cold chain management processes guarantee not only that his products are safe after transport, but also look fresh to the end-user. (Read our Ferme Marine de Mahebourg case study)

Moreover, this need for efficient transport processes that guarantee product quality at the point of sale is playing itself out against a backdrop of rising worldwide consumer demand for perishable goods as per capita incomes rise in major markets such as China and India.

Income per Capita and Perishable Share of Food Imports – source: Lufthansa Consulting

A general rule of thumb in the global food trade is that lower per capita income nations tend to import mostly grains, while higher per capita income nations import a wide range of cold chain perishables. So, while 70% of foods consumed in the US are managed by cold chain processes against only 25% of the meat and 5% of the fruits and vegetables in China, for the latter these figures are rising rapidly.

Also, within developed markets, the demand for perishables is rising. According to Winnesota Regional transportation, the US refrigerated transportation market on which the sale of perishables depend is growing at a rate of around 12.5% per annum, with strong projected growth in the coming years.

Projected annual growth in global cold chain to 2020 – 13.9%
Fresh produce shelf-life time spent in transit- 50%

Source: Logistics Bureau

Although regulation around safety is an important factor in the growth of cold chain transportation, globalisation and innovation play a far more important role. Technological progress around refrigerated transport makes it possible for less developed economies to sell their perishable produce in far away markets.

Complex international supply chains

As soon as a flower is picked or a fruit and vegetable is harvested, it begins to rot. Time and distance are thus the twin challenges of the fresh cold chain.

In fact for some produce such as Guatemalan bananas that picked when they are green, this biological process occurs during transit thus ensuring they arrive at retailers in the EU and the US in a saleable condition.

World fruit trade map — source: Rabobank

To avoid product spoilage, speed is the number 1 priority. Cold chain processes are therefore equipment and technology intensive in order to prolong freshness so consumers get to buy saleable produce.

Other considerations include:

  • product sensitivity to weather and other naturally occurring disruptions
  • the maintenance of sound sanitary practices from producer to retailer
  • the requirement of specialised handling and packaging
  • accurate labeling and traceability

Faster supply chains

An increasingly common feature of making perishables supply chains faster is for major supermarkets to take total control of this process with acquisitions of farming production facilities and the development of close business relationships with growers.

In the UK, the supermarket chain Morrisons is also one of the country’s biggest food manufacturers, with over 20 nationwide food production and distribution sites. The group says that more direct links with its farmers enable it to deliver the freshest food and best value to its customers.

Vertical supply chains also allow for growers and farmers to earn more from their produce. This happens in France with the supermarket chain Intermarché whose close relationships with dairy farmers ensure that they are paid 50% of the retail sales price of a litre of branded milk.

Leckford Farm — source: leckfordestate.co.uk

From farm to supermarket shelf

The Leckford Estate in Hampshire, southern England, is the Waitrose supermarkets farm that supplies its produce to Waitrose stores across the UK

Keeping the fresh cold cold chain cool

Although speed is essential in ensuring that the transport and delivery of perishables avoids spoilage, temperature control is another vital component in guaranteeing fresh cold chains.

“Maintaining the cold chain is one of the most effective ways to ensure safe, quality food”

Jorge Hernandez, Senior VP, food safety and quality assurance, U.S. Foods

The complexity of the required processes has led to the food companies working increasingly with specialist third party suppliers and the requirement of suitably qualified personnel.

Another key cold chain area for temperature monitoring revolves around equally specialist technologies, such as RFID tags that record and forward real-time temperature data, real-time GPS tracking that provide visibility of shipment progress, and a range of high-tech time and temperature monitoring solutions.

Avoiding waste due to spoilage

Fresh produce spoils easily and in many cases this is only identified at the very end of the transportation cycle, leading to either shipments being rejected or consumers claiming refunds from retailers. Moreover, apart from waste caused by the spoilt produce, further costs are incurred related to transporting these products that will never be consumed.

For companies, these have a big impact on their financial results. Timestrip Irreversible Time and Temperature Indicators are currently being used by a number of companies to address this issue. In the US for instance, the rail carrier Amtrak has integrated Timestrip products to successfully reduce food waste of its on-board catering services. Read our Amtrak case study.

At an industry level, a new vision about how to reduce these costs is around the establishment of “lean practices” whereby handling by various stakeholders in a perishables supply chain are kept to the very minimum. This is part of the thinking behind supermarkets taking control of food production mentioned above.

A strategy in this area includes a focus on direct-stores deliveries that avoid traditional centralised distribution methods and the maintenance of smaller local fresh produce warehousing much closer to retail outlets.

Ethylene ripening gas – source: Bluestar Ripening Gas (India)

Significant savings can be also generated with appropriate packaging that protect fragile perishables against damage and innovative materials that actually extend the life of produce by controlling its life-cycle with the use of ripening agents such as ethylene gas.

This can involve speeding up the ripening process with innovative packaging containing ethylene gas capsules that can ripen fruit on demand, and ethylene gas that is used to ripen green bananas during transportation. It can also involve slowing down the ripening process with the use of ethylene absorbers that are added to fruit packaging.

Ethylene absorber pads used by UK retailer Marks & Spencer to extend fruit shelf life by up to 50% – source: foodnavigator.com

A growing area of cost savings in fresh supply chains is the use of returnable plastic crates (RPCs) that can be used many times.Their ergonomic design allows for space-saving stacking, safer handling and ventilation and draining hat reduces in-transit spoilage. Plus with so-called “one-touch merchandising”, RPCs placed directly onto shelf displays,further reducing handling.

They also have an impressive environmental record: a 2013 study found that RPCs generate 82% less waste, consume 92% less water, cause 76% less ozone depletion and require 49% less energy.

Managing the fresh cold chain

Franck Artis is the Singapore Branch Manager of Food Distribution Pte Ltd. He says:

For perishables such as dairy produce, it is essential that the cold chain is not breached during transportation, with an ideal temperature range of 3°C to 4°C. This is just as much for product quality as for food safety. Normally this must involve some kind of refrigerated transport.

For domestic transport such in France, this involves refrigerated lorry deliveries direct to retail outlets or (often regional) distribution platforms that have dedicated cold rooms for temporary storage. For export, this can involve either a transporter operating door-to-door processes or alternatively outsourcing this function to third-party cold chain logistics suppliers.

A key feature of cold chain management during the maritime transport of perishables is the ability of transporters to supply accurate and complete temperature data that shows that the cold chain has not been breached. This can mean using reefer containers with temperature tracker boxes that monitor and control the temperature inside the containers, and log and respond to any breaches, say, in the event of a temporary power outage.

The economics of the transport of perishables dictate that temperature monitoring tools such as Irreversible Time & Temperature Indicators would only be used for high added value items, such as caviar, rather than a carton of yogurt or milk.

For perishables such as flowers, avocados, bananas and tomatoes, transit time is used a ripening period to ensure that when they arrive at their final destination (retail) point, they are fit for sale.

The advent of the banana cold chain

Bananas make up the largest share in the transport of perishables, equivalent to approximate 20% in volume and worth some US$8bn in 2013.

Unloading a Banana Ship, New Orleans, 1903 – Source: Library of Congress

Exact figures of global banana production are difficult to determine as globally only 15% of production (which include plantain) is exported and much of what is not exported is produced by small or very small growers.

Nevertheless, refrigerated cargo (aka reefer) ship technology has been an important driver in the cold chain technology development. The first reefer ship for the transport of bananas was developed in the US in 1902 by United Food Company.

Up until that point, bananas were a highly exotic fruit and very much a luxury item in non-banana producing nations.

Today, it is one of the world’s most consumed fruit and due to its distinct ripening process, the trade and transportation of this produce has led to distinct term in cold chain logistics – the so-called ‘banana cold chain’.

 

 

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