As the foremost commercial kitchen cleaning company in London, we are always eager to support any new innovation that positively impacts upon food hygiene in the professional kitchen. As such, we were fascinated by a recent feasibility study conducted by the Food Standards Agency, working alongside Cambridge City Council and local tech company CheckIt, regarding a new piece of digital technology designed to monitor commercial food enterprises remotely, and in real time.
The CheckIt technology is an operations management system intended to digitise an array of food safety management processes that are currently conducted by hand. Effectively replacing the manual temperature readings and paper checklists with a platform of smart wireless sensors and smart data apps, CheckIt looks to streamline the arduous – if necessary – tasks involved in day-to-day food hygiene management.
These daily checks for compliance are recorded on a mobile digital handset, and results are uploaded automatically to the cloud. Anomalies are instantly relayed to the user who can also access records remotely in real-time, as well as track their establishment’s performance on a remote dashboard. The data itself will be kept secure and for the operator’s use only (though the restaurants who took part in the study agreed to allow an Environmental Health Officer access to their records for the purpose of validating the technology).
The three-month trial involved five establishments in Cambridge, each of whom agreed to utilise the CheckIt platform alongside their paper records, while also granting a Cambridge City Council EHO access to their records to confirm that they were being maintained accurately by the new system.
The trial was deemed a success by the FSA, the council, CheckIt, and the five companies partaking in the study, with all agreeing that this digital alternative made the monitoring of food hygiene processes easier for them, and would likely make future EHO visits a more streamlined affair.
The study recommended further research to expand the model beyond restaurants and to test the approach across a broader range of food-handling businesses.