Why is it important to regularly check the accuracy of your food thermometers?

Foodborne illness can not only have the potential to suddenly strike a restaurant patron but also be financially devastating to your operation as well. According to the USDA, the average liability cost incurred from a single claim can top $100,000!  And in 2010, with nearly 48,000,000 cases of foodborne illness reported in the US, the need to take every precaution to insure that you produce and serve food and beverage that is safe to eat and drink is paramount.  Controlling costs and maintaining margins is challenging enough, while incorporating the right tools into your operation can be just as daunting a task.

Food thermometers in a commercial kitchen are constantly subject to abuse.  The environments in which they are required to work have heat, grease and moisture to contend with on a daily basis. This abuse could affect their accuracy and provide faulty readings.  Left unchecked, these readings could lead to improper handling of fresh, cooked and stored foods.  If that were to happen, the chances of a foodborne illness increase substantially. Cooper-Atkins is introducing a simple and elegant product that can help you keep your food safer and give you more time to manage your business.

VALIDATION is defined as a confirmation that your thermometers are accurate to within acceptable tolerances.  It is a quick and easy comparison of a thermometer against a single temperature an ice bath, and can be performed on site in your facility.  Using a slurry, consisting of crushed ice and water, a properly-constructed ice bath should be able to maintain a temperature that is very close to 32 degrees F.  Cooper-Atkins new VALCUP, Thermometer Validation Cup, has instructions on how to build a proper ice bath clearly printed on the back of each cup as a guide.  Simply twist off the top, build your ice bath according to our instructions, replace the top and insert your stem thermometer through the opening in the center.  The thermometer stem will rest perfectly in the center of the ice bath mass, away from the sidewalls and cup bottom which could affect accurate readings.  Within several seconds, your stem thermometer will provide you with a stable temperature reading and let you know whether your thermometers are accurate and ready to use.

CALIBRATION is a formal comparison of an item to a known standard of higher accuracy.  Calibration is usually conducted within a controlled environment and not normally done on site unless you have a thermometer of higher accuracy to use as a reference point.   The known standard it is traceable to should be through an unbroken chain of comparison to NIST standards.  Cooper-Atkins believes that proper calibration of any digital thermometer should be performed by factory technicians and not done on site.  We market a line of thermometers under the Accurate For Life brand that ensures accuracy under normal working conditions or they will be replaced free of charge.  We are so confident that our products will remain accurate as stated in our specifications that we guarantee it!

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