Progress in catering transport


Courtesy of KELLER HCW GmbH

BVS Catering in Mannheim, Germany has introduced a new method for monitoring and documenting transport temperatures. Together with KELLER HCW GmbH, they have implemented a measurement system to meet the highest quality assurance standards.

BVS Catering places high demands on their suppliers and the foods they purchase. In their logistics and hygiene practices, BVS aims to maintain an even higher level of product quality than is required by national regulations governing quality control. BVS caters hot meals to a clientele which includes nursing homes, schools, day care facilities, and corporate customers. Their culinary expertise, menu variety, and the use of fresh ingredients result in customer satisfaction.

Monday morning, 9:00. The staff at BVS Catering in Mannheim have been busy working since 6:30 a.m. – just like every weekday. Now it’s time to transfer the freshly prepared meals into special hot food transport containers designed to maintain the temperature between 80 and 85 °C.

A kitchen team member places the food into the preheated transport boxes called Thermoports. Up until the time the Thermoports depart from BVS facilities for distribution they are internally heated to keep the food at 85 °C.

At about 10:30 a.m. the food transport trucks arrive to pick up the food. The Thermoports are disconnected from the power supply and loaded into the trucks. The drivers follow established delivery routes to distribute the food to the customers.
BVS Catering’s customers - as prescribed by HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) regulation - require that the food be at least 65 °C hot at the time it is served. In order to achieve this, the food must have re-tained a temperature of at least 70 °C upon arrival. What this means: BVS must ensure that the food cools as little as possible after separation from the power supply and while in transit.

Of course some loss of heat is to be expected. The challenges are how to keep heat loss to a minimum and accurately monitor the drop in temperature. The amount of heat loss during transport depends on the design and thermal insulation properties of the containers as well as the duration of trans-port. Prior to shutting the food transport container door, a BVS kitchen staff member makes sure that CellaLog, a temperature data logger from KELLER HCW GmbH, has been properly placed in the designated spot adjacent to the food.

The temperature measuring system monitors and records the temperatures within the container during transit and distribution. CellaLog, has the shape and size of a credit card. Temperatures ranging anywhere from –30 °C to +85 °C are detected, recorded and saved with the precise time and date of occurrence. In this particular datalogging mission, CellaLog, is configured to collect tem-peratures in 5-minute intervals over the course of one week (five days of delivery). With the CellaDrive reading device and the designated software, the temperature data can be transferred to a PC for further analysis and archiving.

It’s noon on Friday. BVS Catering’s chef de cuisine removes the individually identified loggers from each customer-assigned Thermoport. He extracts the recorded data using CellaDrive. The temperature history over the course of one week is documented for each and every container and customer. This temperature time data is saved to memory and can be presented to each customer, if desired, either as a graph or a chart.

BVS’ chef now prepares the reusable CellaLog cards for the following week. He presets the CellaLog, cards to begin their next datalogging mission on the following Monday at 6:00 a.m.

BVS Catering is aware of how vitally important it is to monitor the temperature development of its foods in transit as a means of ensuring quality. As BVS knows, it is worth going through a little extra effort in performing these monitoring procedures in order to guarantee food safety for its clients.

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