What Is Fridge Temperature Monitoring?

Putting it simply, fridge temperature monitoring means regularly checking and recording what’s happening in your fridges or chillers.

Due to the temperature-sensitive nature of products stored in fridges and chillers, it’s important that the fridge is neither too hot nor too cold, and remains at a temperature between 0 and 5°C.

Whether it’s every minute or just twice a day, regularly checking is crucial to ensuring temperature-sensitive products are preserved – both in terms of food safety (to limit bacteria growth) and food quality (to maintain the taste, texture or appearance).

Why Is Fridge Temperature Monitoring Important?

Given that the majority of fridges and chillers have a temperature display, it’s fair to question why a secondary independent temperature check is necessary.

The answer is simply that temperature displays show the temperature a fridge is set to, rather than the temperature it is actually reading.

As any refrigeration or cooling unit is at risk of malfunction or breakdown, it’s important that an independent temperature check is carried out regularly to ensure the fridge temperature is safe, especially if the products are high-risk and/or perishable.

Official Advice

This is supported by the Food Standards Agency’s advice on chilling, which states:

‘You need to check that your fridge is cold enough using a fridge thermometer. This is because the dials on fridges don’t always show you the right temperature. Your fridge should be 5°C or below.’ 

BRCGS Clause 4.15.3, relating to the storage of raw materials, in-process products or finished products is also relevant. It states:

‘Temperature recording equipment with suitable temperature alarms shall be fitted to all storage facilities or there shall be a system of recorded manual temperature checks, typically on at least a 4-hourly basis or at a frequency which allows for intervention before product temperatures exceed defined limits for the safety, legality or quality of products.’ (BRCGS Global Food Safety Standard V8 , Clause 4.15.3)

In addition to food safety and quality, fridge monitoring systems with alarms offer excellent cost-saving and risk-management, as instances of non-compliance that would result in stock loss or wastage can be identified in good time, before stock must be discarded.

This is particularly relevant for large chillers, which may contain hundreds or thousands of pounds’ worth in storage. Fridge monitoring systems with audible, visual or SMS alerts have been known to avert serious loss and even reduce insurance premiums.

How Often Should I Check the Temperature of my Fridges and Chillers?

In sum, there is no hard and fast rule on how often the checks should take place; ultimately it depends on your documented site processes.

As noted above, the FSA’s guidance does not specify regularity, however the inference would be once per day.

Some local government authorities are more specific on their recommendations, such as Falkirk Council in their Food Safety Guidance, who specify that fridges should be checked at least twice per day.

The BRCGS recommend checks are conducted at least 4-hourly but leave this open to the site’s discretion, based on the time it would take for product temperatures to exceed defined limits for product safety, legality or quality.

For particularly temperature-sensitive or high-risk products in small pack quantities, especially fresh meat and dairy products, it’s wise to take a worst-case scenario approach.

If the fridge was to break down or have the door left open immediately after your temperature check and on a warm day, how soon would the stock become unsafe?

Hopefully, this article has offered useful insights, advice, and recommendations regarding compliant fridge temperature monitoring. If you have any questions or queries, feel free to contact our helpful support team at: 01473 461800.

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