The Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t just about making our houses or cars smarter – though that’s pretty cool. The advent of machine-to-machine (M2M) technology is actually making our world safer in many ways, including in restaurants and the food supply. In fact, it’s having an impact on every step of the progression, from the farm to our dinner tables. Here’s how IoT is being used to increase food safety.
M2M technology can help improve your food while it’s still literally in the ground. Though still in its infancy, connected farming will one day spread to every aspect of farm safety, from environmental monitoring to land management and food traceability.
Many of our ingredients go through some sort of processing or packaging before they reach our kitchens, and it’s good to know that M2M technology not only makes factories more effective and efficient, but helps with food safety as well. Connectivity can help prevent machine break-downs that can cause blips in the manufacturing process which can affect food quality and freshness.
Connected machines can also ensure cleanliness standards are being upheld and that the entire factory and its products are safe. For example, one food manufacturing plant that uses ammonia for a process was able to install a flow analysis device on the piping to check for ammonia leaks and send a warning if one is detected.
Do food products need to reach your store by a certain time to stay fresh? A connected fleet allows you to keep track of the location of drivers and vehicles on a real-time basis. For more intricate details on the status of your food shipments, consider a service that provides automated alerts, which allows you to track changes in temperature, which is vitally important to ensure food isn’t spoiling.
Once at the restaurant, it’s imperative to make sure that food supplies are maintained at proper temperatures. One solution called Checkit uses wireless fixed sensors to monitor cold storage and hot holding 24/7, alerting owners to any lapse in the system, which helps keep costs low and quality and safety high.
Not sure if your employees are adhering to recommended sanitation standards? Here’s one easy way to tell if hand washing is happening as it should: connected soap dispensers wirelessly send data to a cloud-based platform, tracking the exact time of usage and how many pumps were used. It’s easy to extrapolate your employees’ hand washing behavior based on this data. Furthermore, connected cleaning devices can ensure that kitchen and eating areas are kept to the highest standards.
The issue is important: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that 48 million people, roughly one in six Americans, becomes ill from food-borne diseases each year. And nearly half of the outbreaks attributed to a single source were traced to food eaten in a restaurant or deli.
No matter where your business lies on the food processing continuum- from farm to table – integrating M2M or IoT devices and data into your organization can help you come clean in the areas of food safety and sanitation.
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