These indicators monitor when specimens – including coronavirus – have been stored for too long and outside the required temperature range for reliable testing.
Four products make up the VST range.
Together they form an essential tool to support hospitals, surgeries and medical laboratories in storing and transporting virus specimens correctly, and preserving their integrity.
A virus specimen’s exposure to temperature over time is critical to its lifetime, so the VST series includes a unique integrating indicator, the Timestrip VST TTI, which mirrors the accumulated time-temperature history of the virus specimen during transport and storage.
Virology specimen collection guidelines state that most viruses remain stable at 4°C for 2-3 days, so VST TTI is effective with a wide range of virus types.
Designed to meet specific regulations, the TTI label will indicate when 72 hours of chilled storage has elapsed by showing a clear visual discard window. At high temperatures, the label will show the discard indication within just a few hours.
Scientists and clinicians know that bacteria and viruses deteriorate much more quickly as temperatures increase, and also as exposure time increases. For example, at 50-55°C, coronavirus becomes non-infectious within just a few hours.
FDA and WHO regulations state that it is important to avoid freezing and thawing of specimens.
The Timestrip VST 0°Cwill reliably track a thawing event. If the ambient temperature rises above freezing, the indicator will show the cumulative period of thawing.
Timestrip VST Fridge Combi includes two indicators. One unique element indicates when a period of 72 hours has passed during chilled conditions (2-8°C), aligning with FDA / WHO regulations.
The other element provides a temperature breach indication, giving a clear signal when conditions have exceeded the regulated upper chilled limit of 8°C/46°F during storage or transport.
“As part of the fight against coronavirus, our new VST virus specimen transport range will help support scientists by monitoring specimens from collection right through to point of test, giving confidence in the integrity of the specimen, and thus the test results.
These simple yet effective products provide a solution to a real problem in the storage and handling of virus specimens, including Covid-19. Medics and laboratory technicians can now have an explicit signal when specimens have breached the safe zone of thermal exposure and are invalid for testing.”
Nora Murphy, Commercial Director of Timestrip UK Ltd
The VST is expected to be the first of many speciality ranges to be offered by Timestrip that provide practical solutions for pathology, microbiology, mycobacteria and other laboratory specimen handling, where temperature and time monitoring are required.
From hospital curtains to pharmaceutical carts to floors, sanitation protocols need strict adherence to prevent contamination more than ever.
In response to this risk, sanitisers and sterilization products such as wipes and solutions are increasingly being put to use. As far as current medical knowledge knows, the virus is very sensitive to the cleaning and disinfecting agents currently in use.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that ‘enveloped’ viruses such as COVID-19 are the easiest type to inactivate using disinfectants.1
A spokesperson for the American Hospital Association says that while frequent cleaning is standard, hospitals are giving special attention to “high-touch surfaces such as in-room phones, TV/nurse calls, light switches and cords, handles, drawer pulls, bed rails, tray tables and bathroom fixtures.”2
However, sterilizing solutions will only achieve maximum efficacy while still fresh. They must be used within a specified period after being opened and have a limited shelf life.
Timestrip time indicators can be a valuable part of the infection control processes here, and a range of standard products is available.
Timestrip Time indicators are a visual alert that a disinfectant is out of date
During the current coronavirus outbreak, many of us are reviewing our shopping habits. Online purchasing can be a good way to avoid unnecessary personal contact. But what about chilled or frozen food?
How can we be sure that delivered supplies are kept at the right temperature, and stay safe to eat throughout their journey to our homes or offices? Some folks are even waiting longer before handling any food delivery, making storage conditions even more important.
Timestrip temperature indicators are available for producers and retailers to verify correct food transport conditions, reassuring the end customer that all is well.
Having a clearly visible indicator also helps encourage good operating procedures. When the boxes are opened, consumers can see if food has been kept at a safe temperature. If a temperature breach occurs, you can see a colour change from white to blue in the TTI window.
Here are a few companies that have adopted Timestrip solutions for safe food delivery:
Choicelunch delivers fresh lunch food and used Timestrip PLUS smart indicators applied to the inside of each cool box so they have a simple, highly accurate and clearly visible readout showing how long the contents have been above the critical chilled threshold. Choicelunch (and the State Health Inspectors) love the tamper-proof integrity of the Timestrip PLUS indicators.
From Home With Love provides hundreds of home cooks across the USA with the packaging necessary to send home cooked frozen meals to loved ones away at college, on work assignment or on military service. They are including Timestrip PLUS Food indicators to reassure recipients that their lovingly prepared meals were stored below 5°C (40°F) while in transit.
Leading fruit and vegetable wholesaler Oliver Kay Produce has adopted Timestrip technology to help customers comply with temperature guidelines for fresh produce. Oliver Kay began placing Timestrip indicators on its crates to indicate clearly where the temperature breaches were occurring, enabling them to show customers that they were not storing produce correctly.
It stopped complaints for problems over which we had no control and also enabled customers to improve shelf-life and quality of produce at their own locations.
Chris O’Connor, MD at Oliver Kay.
Ready-to-cook dinner packages
A couple of years ago, a study into delivery of ‘home meal kits’ by Rutgers-Tennessee State University suggested that nearly 47% of 684 items researchers ordered arrived with surface temperatures above 40°F (5°C), rendering them unsafe to consume.
Surface temperatures varied significantly among products in the same shipment, and even on different locations on the same product. Timestrip has developed low-cost time and temperature indicators (TTIs) that can be placed inside meal delivery boxes to monitor the internal temperature.
When the boxes are opened, consumers can see if a temperature breach has occurred, shown by a colour change from white to blue in the TTI window. Each Timestrip TTI includes a serial code to ensure batch traceability, and Timestrip indicators can be kept and/or recorded as proof of a temperature breach.
Stock & Custom Home Meal & Food Delivery Solutions
Timestrip designed and manufactures a line of low-cost time and temperature indicators (TTIs) that can be placed inside the food delivery boxes to monitor the internal temperature. Custom products can be manufactured to meet a range of compliance temperatures used in the food industry.
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