Compliance with cold chain during transport of goods is crucial. Indeed, the break in the cold chain of heat-sensitive products entails the liability of the transporter. The monitoring and control of temperature are therefore important health and economic issues.
So how do you get accurate data on how to maintain the ambient temperature inside a refrigerated vehicle for example?
Temperature sensors provide reliable data to address these traceability issues, from transport to storage and delivery to the customer. How to be sure to avoid a break in the cold chain? Read on to learn more about it.
What is cold chain breaking?
A break in the cold chain can be defined as the consequences of a rise of temperatures beyond those prescribed. To avoid this, the objective is to put in place a set of operations aimed at maintaining a constant temperature that is often negative during the storage and transport of a heat-sensitive product.
A heat sensitive product is therefore a product sensitive to temperature variations, i.e., its properties change according to cold or heat. Maintaining a continuous cold chain means ensuring consistency of the product or good, in accordance with its labelling or regulations in force.
Why is compliance with cold chain essential?
Maintenance of the cold chain, also known as cold storage, is therefore essential for the transport of heat-sensitive goods. Indeed, the safety of these specific products must be guaranteed by the transport company.
If they are delivered at a temperature higher than the contractually agreed one for example, the carrier can be held liable for it. The customer may then refuse delivery, even in the absence of alteration of the goods or its bacteriological conformity.
What are the consequences of a break in the cold chain in the transport sector?
The so-called temperature-controlled, whether air, land, or sea, is naturally a source of disputes because of the risk it entails. Different health or financial issues are then to be considered.
When we think about the health risks associated with the break in the cold chain, we naturally think of the risks of food poisoning (staphylococcus, salmonella or listeriosis). Indeed, the cold stops the proliferation of microorganisms to keep food safe.
This is also the case for many pharmaceutical products, such as drugs or vaccines, that need to be preserved cold. Some heat-sensitive health products can also be to damage caused by freezing. The crystallization of a water-soluble drug, for example, is irreversible.
The financial risk is therefore very real. Because, as we have seen, a customer can refuse the delivery of a lot of goods on the grounds that the cold chain has been broken during transport. The case law considers that the non-conformity of the temperature can constitute damage.
In case of doubt about the continuity of the cold chain, the consequence is the outright destruction of the goods. The principal may sue the transport company and claim compensation for damages. All of this is possible even in the absence of physical alteration of the product.
A regulatory framework governs market participant. You can therefore better prevent by taking certain precautions.
What are the elements you must control in the cold chain?
Bringing your company into compliance with the regulation in force is an important issue for many players in cold logistics. The use of a capture solution, especially wireless, may be essential.
Cold chain regulation in transport and EN12830 and EN13486 standards
The use of temperature sensors is thus required by European regulations to obtain the EN12830 standard as well as the EN13486 standard.
- The EN12830 standard provides for the functional technical characteristics of the various temperature measurement and recording systems during transport, storage, and distribution. The objective is to ensure that temperature as well maintained and correctly throughout the process.
- The EN13486 standard complements the previous one by also being more specific to chilled, frozen, or deep-frozen products. The aim is to set up a procedure for checking the equipment and means of transport such as measuring thermometers and recorders.
To know everything about the standards in force and the regulations of the cold chain, read this article.
What are the critical phases that can cause a cold chain breakage?
Apart from transport, three others phase of the supply chain that increase the probability of a disruption in the cold chain:
- Loading of goods: loading as well as unloading are sensitive operations that must be carried out as quickly as possible;
- Storage and warehousing: the storage place should ideally be subject to control to ensure compliance with temperature condition;
- Distribution: distribution is also a critical link in the cold chain. Within sales aeras or in cold rooms, products must be kept at the right temperature.
It should be recalled that the carrier is responsible for the condition inside the transport vehicle, according to the instructions of the instructing party or the indications transmitted on the transport document.
How to avoid the break in the cold chain in the transport of goods?
Effective’s solutions exist to avoid breaking the cold chain in the transport sector.
Real time temperature monitoring with IoT solutions.
IoT Solutions, also known as Internet of Things, can remotely monitor temperature, by using connected temperature sensors.
For example, by using Bluetooth sensors embedded in the trailer of refrigerated trucks, it is possible to have a real time monitoring of the temperature of conservation of goods.
The temperature recorder communicates via Bluetooth to the telematic box installed in the driver cabin. The box being multiconnected (Bluetooth, GPS, GSM 3g/4g), we can check in real-time the conservation temperature of the products.
If a threshold is exceeded, a message, email, or vocal alert is directly sent to the driver’s smartphone, allowing them to react quickly.
Bluetooth temperature sensors
There is numerous temperature sensors on the market. Nonetheless, to be in conformity with the regulations, they must respect a certain number of criteria such as the EN12830 and EN13486 standards seen earlier in this article. It is therefore important to ensure that the sensor is certified by a state organization such as the COFRAC or the Dakks in Germany for example.
Bluetooth temperature sensors used in this type of solution must, among other things, offer very high accuracy, especially when transporting frozen foods or pharmaceutical products. As all measuring devices lose accuracy through use, it is the responsibility of the user to have it checked and calibrated regularly.
The choice of the sensor can also be made according to the measurement range it offers. For example, the Blue PUCK T EN12830 offers a wide measuring range from -40° to +85°C, covering most applications.
The digitalization of the sector responds to a need for reliable information and data security of logisticians and carriers. ELA Innovation naturally support you in this digital transition thanks to its wide partners ecosystem that offer you numerous solutions adapted to your activity sector.