Case study points to effectiveness of RFID temperature monitoring

Santa Clara, CA, US:  Intelleflex, a leading provider of on-demand data visibility solutions and Ryan Systems, a supply chain traceability consultancy, have announced the results of intermodal freight tests involving land and sea transport that document the effectiveness of RFID-enabled temperature-monitoring technology in improving global food safety and detecting compromised quality.

Using Intelleflex temperature-monitoring solutions, Ryan Systems worked with packing houses, freight forwarders, homeland security and customs officials to track the temperature and quality of fresh produce from San Diego area farms and from Taiwan’s Keelung port to distribution centers in Hawaii.

The study revealed:

  • Significant pallet-level temperature variation occurred while moving produce in and out of trucks, packing houses and ships
  • Temperatures during freight transportation indicated that products on pallets warmed slowly throughout the trip, possibly indicating problems with the cooling system
  • Container transportation to the pier revealed temperature disruption, indicating that the cooling units had been turned off during transport.

“Collectively, these pioneering tests in RFID temperature-monitoring technology reveal data that food industry suppliers need to solve some of their most challenging problems,” said Dr. John Ryan, proprietor of Ryan Systems and an acknowledged expert in food safety. “This real-life case study indicates that RFID-based temperature monitoring solutions like Intelleflex can play a key role in guaranteeing the safety and quality of food, particularly for international shipping.”

This important study comes at a time when more and more perishable commodities are shipping internationally. According to the Food and Drug Administration’s US Government Accountability Office, imports account for nearly two-thirds of the fruits and vegetables consumed in the US.  The global supply chain requires the cooperation of producers, distributors, shippers, homeland security and border protection officials all abiding by international regulations to ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply.

The studies conducted by Ryan Systems address the need for improved management and monitoring of international food safety systems, farm-to-fork traceability requirements, and proactive track and trace methodology for all parties by demonstrating the common need for data that shows the status and condition of shipped produce throughout the cold supply chain.

Intelleflex temperature-monitoring solutions provided the data measurement capability in this study – TMT-8500 temperature monitoring tags and the Intelleflex HMR-9090 handheld readers – which compared data measuring the precise temperature of food at the pallet level with ambient temperature data recorded at the container level to document the temperature variations between the cargo container monitors and the pallet monitors.

Prior to the study’s findings, shippers assumed that all temperatures in a container were maintained at close to 45-degrees Fahrenheit for the duration of the food’s transit.  In reality, the tags placed with the pallets reported a myriad of temperature variations as the produce travelled from the Port of Los Angeles to Hawaii as well as from Taiwan to Hawaii. Shipping perishables at incorrect temperatures can dramatically increase the risk of food safety issues and increases the potential for spoilage.

“Proper end-to-end temperature management of the cold chain is critical for ensuring the freshness and safety of our domestic and international food supplies,” said Peter Mehring, CEO of Intelleflex.  “The studies by Ryan Systems reaffirm the value that Intelleflex provides with powerful pallet-level temperature monitoring that delivers a positive ROI, often in a single harvest, by helping avoid loss by continuously monitoring freshness, which enables delivery routing based on shelf life.”

To learn more about the study and read the full results download the Ryan Systems case study “International Food Safety: The Importance of Temperature Monitoring”, also available on the Intelleflex website at


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