Data Logger Technology Assures Safe Vaccine Handling

Data logger technology is widely used in the retail and food production industry to monitor critical cold chain data for optimal temperature during transport. That same technology is now used to help ensure the freshness and viability of COVID-19 vaccines during transport and storage.


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Image credit: Emerson

Food safety and preservation have been concerns for as long as there have been people who need to eat. Those living in temperate climates have discovered ways to keep food fresh and edible between harvests, turning to methods such as drying or pickling produce, smoking meats or taking advantage of sub-zero temperatures to freeze perishables before defrosting for use. Later, people moved to other methods, including fermentation and canning for food preservation. These methods keep food safe and edible for long distance shipping to feed those far from where foods are grown.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines challenges to food safety, including new and emerging bacteria, toxins and antibiotic resistance and changes in the environment leading to food contamination. Contamination can occur at various points along the food production chain, during production, processing, distribution or preparation.

Distribution is a vital step in the food chain. If food that needs refrigeration is left on a loading dock in warm weather, it could reach temperatures that allow bacteria to grow and render it unsafe. Perishable items that become spoiled along the way unfortunately have to be discarded.

Data Loggers for Quality Control

Food Safety News identifies one critical way companies can use IoT technology to boost food safety and quality and reduce risks: using data loggers. Food safety remains a top priority for all refrigerated transporters. The most effective way to maintain quality control in transport is by using real-time data monitoring, with a connected high-precision data logger.

Data loggers are electronic devices that work with sensors to automatically monitor and record an environment—measuring, documenting, analyzing, and validating a set of information. The data collected by a data logger typically gets transferred to a computer, where the distributor can analyze it. In food transport, the logger can determine whether perishables are sufficiently refrigerated at every step of the journey. This technology allows transporters to verify at any given moment that food has been handled properly.

boxes of vaccines at tracker facility

Imaged credit: Emerson

Keeping Vaccines Viable

Global technology company Emerson launched a suite of GO USB Data Logger products. The programmable and reusable data loggers collect time, temperature, and humidity data from perishable products in transit. Users can download vital cold chain information, which is viewable when a product reaches its destination. The solution can benefit growers and shippers, third-party logistics companies, retailers, and food service companies.

Interestingly, the GO USB Data Logger suite of products was designed to help the company’s customers meet the specific requirements for handling vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, with options to satisfy both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC guidelines.

The CDC has developed a Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit, a comprehensive guide with best practices for vaccine storage and handling. This Toolkit was created using the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations, along with product information from vaccine manufacturers, and scientific studies. The toolkit includes temperature monitoring and handling best practices for refrigerated vaccines, and it outlines the optimal temperature needed to keep the vaccines fresh and effective.

Automated Cold Chain Management

Emerson has three different product variations, which include the GO USB Temp, GO USB Humidity, and GO USB Probe. The GO USB Temp measures ambient temperature only. The GO USB Humidity measures both ambient temperature and humidity. The GO USB Probe, which can be disconnected and used as a standalone temperature device, measures ambient and probe temperatures.

The GO USB loggers can collect mean kinetic temperature, minimum and maximum temperature and humidity, average temperature, and more. The data points can be displayed and presented in a secure PDF report, which is generated automatically when the logger connects to a PC. The suite of products can be easily configured via software to meet users’ cold chain measurement needs.

Explore Emerson’s Data Logger solutions


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