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:
- Risk Avoidance: Changes made to your processes and players that ensures risks are no longer an issue.
- Risk Mitigation: Reduce the severity of the loss or prevent the likelihood of the risk from occurring.
- Risk Acceptance: Avoidance of a potential risk area is not possible or economically feasible, so it is acceptable and will not impact your business.
- 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?
- Review and audit your supply chain to assess where risk does, or may exist
- Assess what the impact of these risks may be and create a list with the highest probability items at the top to address first
- Define your risk mitigation strategies for the highest-level items and work down the list from High to Low
- Implement the strategies and document them.
What else should I do, or know?
- Even though your Risk Management plan includes good SOP’s and WI’s make sure that people are adequately trained in these disciplines
- Conduct self-audits regularly
- The cost of a Cold Chain Monitoring device or solution, is far less expensive than the cost of disposal of a temperature compromised shipment
- 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
What is Timestrip Complete?
Timestrip Complete is our product that monitors upper and lower threshold temperature breaches, such as 2°-8°C cold chain monitoring for vaccine storage and transport.
The product is in fact made up of two elements: a Timestrip Plus, which is our ascending indicator that measures, for example temperature breaches above 8°C and the amount of time that they have breached, and a descending temperature indicator called Freeze Check Plus FCP for short that logs breaches, for example, below 2°C.
This is why we’ve called the indicator “Timestrip Complete”: It provides complete monitoring for the 2°-8°C cold chain.
Why was Timestrip Complete developed for vaccine storage and transport?
A vaccine is affected by heat and by freezing and the two critical temperature thresholds for storage and transport are 2°C and 8°C.
It’s time and temperature that’s the critical factor leading to degradation of vaccines.
For freezing, the crucial event is whether this has happened or not. Because vaccines are contained in an aqueous solution (water), when it freezes, it expands and the resulting crystallization can destroy the vaccine
How much does a Timestrip Complete cost?
Under US $4 per unit, and considerably less in volume purchase. It’s the lowest cost solution and easiest to implement to achieve complete 2°C-8°C temperature monitoring. Any other tool that does this job involves using a single-use digital data logger, which start at about US$10 per unit
This totally fits in with our company ethos of providing the easiest, simplest and most cost-effective products for temperature monitoring. Many 0°C or 2°C descending indicator on their own for instance normally costs at least US$2.50, so we know that our sub-US $4 price is very competitive.
How do you use Timestrip Complete?
It can be stored at room temperature, is inert until activated and has a button-like feature that needs to be pushed for activation.
There is an extra measure needed in storage to bear in mind— and this is industry-wide for all descending temperature indicators — is that they are always active.
This means they need to ship to end-users above the temperature they monitor and we achieve this by packing them with heat packs to ensure they never go below 2°C.
On the positive side from our clients point of view, because the ascending indicator can be stored at room temperature, they only need to ensure that our products are kept above freezing.
Similar products present the logistic difficulties of needing to be kept above 2°C and below 8°C, so this is a big advantage
Are there other Timestrip Complete products apart from 2°C-8°C?
Yes, this is a key range which we are looking to grow. The product also comes as 0°C-8°C
Timestrip Complete 0°C - 8°C and 2°C - 8°C are also used for the storage and transportation of medicine and biologics.
We are now launching a Controlled Room Temperature indicator that has 15°C and 25°C thresholds. These are designed for environments such as food transportation for airlines.
The key message here though is that we have the technology to produce a variety of complete upper and lower level temperature monitoring — and at a very competitive price.
What’s been the feedback so far from end-users of these complete temperature monitoring indicators?
Timestrip was involved in supporting anti-rabies work in Malawi with a 0°C-30°C indicator for the transportation and storage of canine vaccine. Rabies is huge problem in Malawi and spoilt vaccines seriously hamper efforts to address the situation.
The bottom line was that this 0°C-30°C product was successful in identifying those doses of canine vaccine that were either spoilt because of ambient heat exposure or from freezing caused by the ice-packs that are used during transportation.
This allowed for a re-stocking with unspoilt vaccines that ensured that the anti-rabies field teams’ efforts were effective and thereby measurably supported the prevention of more cases of rabies in Malawi.
Abstract: The World Health Organisation stresses the importance of maintaining the cold chain for temperature sensitive vaccines. Due to the recommendation for rabies vaccines to be stored between 2° and 8° Celsius and the nature of canine mass vaccination projects, cold chain maintenance remains one of the most significant logistical hurdles project managers have to overcome.
Mission Rabies field teams in Malawi evaluated the use of adhesive temperature monitors as an alternative to thermometers in both storage fridges and field cooler boxes during the duration of a 4 week mass vaccination drive in April/May 2016.
Two different Timestrip® temperature monitors were used to alert the teams to the critical temperature thresholds of 0°C and 30°C. As freezing rapidly damages vaccines, each vaccine box containing 10 vials of 10ml vaccine was marked with a monitor that indicates the immediate crossing of the lower threshold through colour change. As damage from high temperatures is related to both the temperature achieved and the time of exposure, to test for the upper temperature limit each cooler box was equipped with a monitor that showed the crossing of the upper threshold over time.
Of a total of 22 vaccination teams participating in the study, 7 teams reported an exposure of the vaccines to temperatures above 30°C for more than 4 hours and on 9 occasions teams reported a temperature drop to 0°C or below.
These findings highlight the importance of monitoring the temperature during field campaigns, both due to proximity to ice packs and exposure to high outside temperatures. The use of Timestrip temperature indicators gives early visual clues and raises awareness among the team. However practicability of the temperature monitoring must be taken into consideration and adhesive monitors need to be improved with regards to their setup to make them a valuable tool in field projects.
This abstract was presented at the 28th Annual Rabies in The Americas Conference on 23 October 2017.
Authors: Frederic Lohr, Reuben Isbitsky, Andy Gibson, Alasdair King
Timestrip will be attending the International Association for Food Protection – IAFP - in Tampa, Florida from 9th – 11th July 2017.
We will be demonstrating our 3°C Seafood, 5°C, 8°C & 10°C irreversible ascending temperature indicators at the exhibition. We will be at booth 847, please come and get a sample of our Nonreversible Food Temperature Indicators to test and take away with you. Click here for more information.
Food temperature monitors
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.
Each year, the International Association for Food Protection hosts an Annual Meeting, providing attendees with information on current and emerging food safety issues, the latest science, innovative solutions to new and recurring problems, and the opportunity to network with thousands of food safety professionals from around the globe. Held in various locations throughout North America, this meeting has grown over the years to become the leading food safety conference worldwide.
Time and Temperature Indicator maker Timestrip launches the Timestrip® Temperature app, a new tool that provides a visual audit trail of its temperature products.
Using the App simply involves taking a photo of a Timestrip® label with a smartphone.
If the Timestrip® has a new style serial number, the App will recognise the serial number and allow you to register it on the system.
You can then take a follow on scan where you can enter its activation state (inert, activated or breached), storing this data with essential time and location information in the cloud.
If the Timestrip® has an old style serial number you can still use the app in the same way but you'll need to manually enter the serial number. The App is free to download from the Google Play store with an iOS version to follow shortly.
High tech low cost
The App is the latest innovation from Timestrip, which revolutionised the field of cold chain management with its unique Irreversible Time and Temperature Indicator labels (TTIs).
Recognised by the World Health Organisation and the US FDA as an essential tool for the cold chain management of blood and food products, TTIs provide data as to whether a blood or food product is safe to use. Timestrip’s irreversible TTIs make this crucial safety information unambiguous and instantly visible.
Like having a hundred permanent digital data loggers
The main benefit of Timestrip’s irreversible TTI labels is that they give essential cold chain management information on individual units of processed products. This deals with the main shortcoming of digital data loggers, which are mostly used for containers of transported and stored products.
Thanks to the new Timestrip® App, extra key information around cold chain management is added with the safe storage of status, time, journey and location data, which can be accessed at any time via the app or via a website. A digital data logger can be lost or damaged and all its data can be wiped clean. The Timestrip® App however safely stores this data in the Cloud.
Data logger functionality at a fraction of the price
Timestrip UK CEO Reuben Isbitsky says: "I am very excited about our first App, which brings Timestrip TTI labels very close to data logger functionality, at a fraction of the price. While a key benefit of Timestrip products is that they do not need external infrastructure to read and interpret, using the optional Timestrip Temperature App to scan them, adds enhanced functionality, easy audit trail and provides the customer with a permanent record of the history of the product’s journey."
The Timestrip team regularly gets feedback from clients across the world about the value that its range of Irreversible Time and Temperature Indicators brings to making production processes safer and more secure.
So in a world which normally deals with the critical issues of health and food safety, the mood in the office has been lightened with news from south-east Asia of a novel use of its 7 Days Time Indicator.
On a building site in Japan, new recruits on a construction site undergo a seven-day training programme and have a Timestrip 7 Days Time Indicator on their security helmets. Thus, when the window on the tag is completely filled with colour, site managers know that the beginners have completed their induction programme.
This strategy is particularly useful when starters begin their seven-day training programme on different days, because access to specific parts of the construction site or the handling of a particular piece of machinery can only occur once the required training linked to a related day has taken place.
Until now the benefits of Timestrips have been closely aligned with the needs of food safety and securing various cold management processes for blood products as well as the Pharmaceutical, Healthcare & Life Sciences industries.
This ingenious use of Timestrip 7 Days Time Indicator points to a new benefit: Health & Safety related to required training.
Is your company using their Timestrips in an unusual way?
If so, please contact us. We would love to hear from you.
Timestrip UK Ltd have expanded their range to include their latest Timestrip PLUS™ 10°C threshold indicator with a 7-day run-out/recording window. This specific indicator is meeting the demand within the pharmaceutical industry and the regulations and compliance that come with transportation and storage. With Timestrip’s latest 10° 7 day offering, they are reaching out further within the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare industry and ensuring their high tech but low cost devices are evolving with the relevant advances in the industries.
7 Day Pharmaceutical temperature breach indicator
Timestrip design and manufacture innovative, irreversible time and temperature indicators for a range of industries from Food to Pharmaceutical. Their Timestrip® PLUS range is predominantly used across the Healthcare, Life sciences and Pharmaceutical arena. Currently, the Timestrip PLUS™ range covers temperature thresholds from -20°C up to 38°C and generally display a run-out window of any temperature breach for 8, 12 or 48 hours.
Combining time & temperature monitoring patented technology, which involves controlled rate lateral diffusion of liquids through the device membrane once activated. If a breach occurs, the ‘smart’ indicators will visually indicate how long a product has been exposed to higher temperatures.
For a free sample of the new 10° 7 day indicator, or to place an order click here
Content by MW Communication
Already in 2012 the world’s third largest importer of seafood, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that China in 2016 is set to become the world’s top destination for seafood imports. Key economic data and trends point to further growth in domestic consumption and, despite indications that the country’s economy is slowing, it has nevertheless trebled in size since 2001, with Forbes magazine predicting it will surpass the US in scale in 2018.
This growth in China’s seafood imports comes at a time when the seafood sector generally is in excellent shape, growing at a faster rate than any other protein industry with the world’s top 150 seafood companies generating $107bn in sales in 2015.
Unsurprisingly, China’s top suppliers are almost all situated around the Pacific basin. In 2013, Russia was in first place with a 17.8% share followed by the US (15.3%), Peru (12.1%), Chile (5.3%), Norway (5.1%) and Canada (4.8%), with other seafood imports being sourced from over 100 other countries. That year in value terms, its main seafood imports included flours and meals of fish, used in animal feeding ($1.7 billion); frozen Alaskan pollock ($883.6 million); frozen cuttlefish and squid ($445.9 million); and frozen cod ($434.0 million).
This astonishing growth in seafood imports is explained by a variety of factors:
Firstly, higher Chinese incomes have fuelled an increase in domestic demand: between 2001 and 2014, real wages in China rose fourfold and this trend is ongoing. Data from the Economist Intelligence Unit point to national average urban incomes rising by around 70% between 2012 and 2017, from US$6,291 to $10,791.
Moreover, this increase in domestic demand includes that for high-end seafood imports, such as lobsters come from France, Canada and the US; abalones from South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand; red shrimps from Ecuador and Argentina; king crabs from Russia and Chile; salmon from Chile, Ireland, Scotland, and Norway; and oysters from America, France, and New Zealand. Such products are obviously favoured by wealthier Chinese consumers, but the country’s emerging middle class is also demonstrating a growing appetite for these seafood imports.
An indication of this trend is the recent news report that the Russian Caviar House has begun exporting black caviar to China, with regular annual shipments of 100-150 kilograms currently being planned, according to company director Saodat Sultanova.
The second key factor explaining the growth in China’s seafood imports is that its domestic production capacity has been extremely adversely affected by pollution and thus cannot meet this increase in demand. Indeed, despite it being the world’s biggest seafood exporter, double in value terms of its nearest rival, Norway, the environmental impact of its breakneck economic growth in the last 20 years has created an insurmountable environmental obstacle.
In March this year, China’s Agriculture Minister Han Changfu said: “… the increase in China’s seafood output has come at the expense of the country’s natural environment.” Han also said that the production capacity of the country’s environment has been stretched to breaking point, with various measures undertaken this year to address the situation. These have included the launch of an effort to protect and repair its freshwater fishery resources, an increase in its annual fishing ban on the Yangtze River from three months to four and an extension to the ban to local rivers and lakes. Such actions will inevitably impact negatively on aquaculture hubs like Jiangsu and Hubei, since the Yangtze flows through those areas and means that China is having to source its seafood elsewhere.
Such environmental issues also affect the safety of China’s domestic seafood production, leading to consumers avoiding potentially harmful products.
In 2012, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) published administrative measures on the control of agricultural product (including aquatic) quality and safety, which included regulations on risk monitoring and sampling. Also since 2012, a further regulation is that food and beverage exporters to China are required to register through the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ)
Despite these measures, in November 2016 it was reported that Chinese seafood retailers are increasingly nervous about stocking domestic seafood, which may have excessive traces of antibiotics. Sales outlets are also beginning to eschew selling live seafood, a choice favoured in particular by older Chinese shoppers, who traditionally bought these products from supermarkets and wet markets. Retailers say they are concerned about costly closures caused by failed safety inspections by food hygiene officials. Meanwhile central government affirmed that the safety scare wasn’t due contaminated water in live fish tanks.
This explains another key trend: the growing importance of place of origin for Chinese consumers. The market for seafood from Canada and Alaska for instance have continued to develop, with northern prawns and Canadian lobsters especially popular. Indeed, advertising the places of origin is set to become an ever more important aspect of marketing seafood imports in China, especially where the source is trusted for its rigorous temperature controls and requirements.
Demand for such products is further stimulated with Chinese consumers’ own ongoing positive experience around product quality, texture, safety, etc, all of which is inextricably linked to effective temperature control monitoring throughout the cold chain process.
The regulatory framework for importers is complex. Beyond having to satisfying country origin export regulations around documentation (commercial invoice, packing list, export health certificate, certificate of origin, etc), all products on cross- border platforms such as Kuajingtong, should meet all the requirements set by Chinese regulations, including Chinese language labelling, certification and registration standards.
Also that year, China updated its Food Safety Law, affecting ingredients, testing methods, manufacturing, contact substances, packaging, and nutrition labelling. Two important regulations, including a “Food Traceability System” and “System of Real Name” have been established and allow consumers to require a “continuous compensation”.
Lastly, Chinese regulations can change quickly and therefore it is important for importers to remain up to date with all policy changes. For example, since 2014, China has banned the imports of whole salmon, but not processed salmon.
That said, this know how around regulations is clearly not an obstacle to the many companies already exporting seafood products to China and a major trend moving forward is predicted to be around the development of e-commerce for the sale of imported seafood products.
Fan Xubing is the founder and president of Sea Bridge Marketing in Beijing and has worked for many years as a partner in promoting sales of imported seafood in China, especially online. He says that 2015 saw a rapid development of e-commerce business of imported food generally. Sales of such products including seafood have increased by over 50% and Chinese consumers are becoming accustomed to buying seafood products online.
He also says that 2016 has seen many improvements in cold chain logistics, tighter controls over temperature and more effective regulation related to seafood safety. He points to e-commerce firms such as Jingdong and Womai, which increased their investment in their cold chain logistics, and how it has become increasingly common for Chinese consumers to get the products on the day they order online or the following day.
China’s seafood import sector has been given a significant further – and often underreported – boost with the decision by central government in recent years to allow more regional cities to handle imports of perishable goods, simplifying a significant aspect of import logistics.
In the capital of comparatively wealthy Jiangsu province for instance, this has led to imports of seafood trebling and in Suzhou, which started handling seafood imports in 2015, the AQSIQ predicts more than 1,000 tons of fresh salmon will be imported into the city in 2017. The AQSIQ also reports that this year Nanjing’s Lukou Airport handled 300 tons of salmon from Chile, the Faroe Islands, the UK and Australia.
This surging demand for seafood imports has had, and will carry on having, a profound impact on cold chain logistics. According to market research by ReportLinker, in an environment where most cold chain logistics enterprises often operate both a cold storage and transportation business, the circulation in China of cold chain agricultural (including aquatic) products reached 330 million tonnes, up 16% year on year, and this is projected to double by 2020.
Visit the Timestrip Food Indicator page for solutions
Maintaining a correct cold chain is essential in managing the supply of seafood products in order to avoid contamination and food poisoning, especially from C Botulism. For restaurants and retailers, who are towards the end of a typical cold chain, ensuring this has occurred prior to delivery is a particular concern. Failure in this area can have dire consequences, both in cost and PR terms, and for consumers, they can be extremely dangerous and in some cases lethal.
C Bot seafood recall alert
In June for instance, the FDA website published an alert about a Florida-based supplier of tuna products that was obliged to initiate a US-wide product recall due to suspected C Botulism contamination of its product.
The manager of one major London restaurant says that the main ways his establishment monitors the quality of the seafood it orders are visual and olfactory inspection of the product upon receipt and the use of trusted suppliers that have the correct certification. The products are also checked upon receipt with temperature probes.
He says that a contaminated seafood product will “not look right”, that it will look “sweaty” and for fish as opposed to shellfish, that the eyes of fish that have “gone off” will look “dead looking”.
He also says that contaminated fish will have a distinct unpleasant smell and that his rule of thumb is “discard fish that smells fishy”.
He says that the scenario of the refrigerated delivery truck whose engine was switched off for a number of hours prior to delivery needn’t necessarily lead to a fall in the refrigerated ambient temperature within it as long as the truck’s doors haven’t been opened.
He adds that major points of sale of seafood products such as Billingsgate market in south-east London have power points specifically to ensure that the refrigeration units of delivery trucks are kept on, thus ensuring that the seafood products they are carrying are kept at the correct cooled or frozen temperatures.
He does concede though, that for oysters specifically, in his 40 years’ experience as a restaurant professional, statistically all restaurants that offer them will occasionally serve oysters that lead to food poisoning.
Lastly, he says that in his experience restaurants are extremely rigorous in the correct application of good food management principles and most cases of food poisoning from contaminated seafood in fact occur in private residences where there is much less awareness of these principles.
Furthermore, he says that among people who aren’t professionals of the food industry, there is also a poor understanding of food poisoning and in all suspected cases enquiries are always made about what was eaten in the previous 72 hours as invariably the cause of the incident was not what was last consumed.
Across the Channel in France, a similar approach also exists with a specialist Marseille-based seafood restaurant and retailer that has two busy branches and has been operating for over 60 years.
The manager of this business, who deals the most with quality and cold chain monitoring, says for him visual inspection of seafood products upon receipt of new stock is his most useful tool to determine whether an appropriate cold chain has been maintained.
He says fish that is spoiled due to not having been kept at the correct cooled temperature will “not feel right” and “not have the right firmness”. This, he says, occurs even before the product starts to smell bad.
He also knows that fish that is spoiled always have eyes that are not the correct colour, which is another indication that they haven't been kept at the correct chilled temperature prior to delivery.
Another aspect of how his restaurant ensures the quality of the products they serve is to only use trusted suppliers and not to deal with intermediaries. Because of these strong longstanding relationships, his business benefits from a “no questions asked” returns policy.
He also says experience is also key, pointing to the 60+ years his establishment has been in existence.
However, like his counterpart in the UK, beyond many years’ professional experience and the use of trusted suppliers and mainly visual inspection of seafood products upon receipt, no cold chain monitoring tools are used.
Both also were emphatic about stressing the value of their respective establishment’s reputation and how damaging an outbreak of food poisoning would be. This, they both said, was always one of the main issues at the front of their minds when they managed their seafood products.
However at one of Marseille’s main teaching hospitals, one senior nurse was extremely dubious about how restaurants manage and monitor seafood cold chains. Her many years’ clinical experience was that they often cut corners and few would discard products that might be spoiled, but could not be returned, due to the appropriate cold chain not having been maintained. She also said she thought this extremely worrying situation would occur even if sophisticated temperature indicators were used at all stages of the seafood cold chain.