Time temperature indicator
A time temperature indicator (TTI) is a device or smart label that shows the accumulated time-temperature history of a product. Time temperature indicators are commonly used on food, pharmaceutical, and medical products to indicate exposure to excessive temperature (and time at temperature).
There are a large number of different time temperature indicators available in the market, based on different technologies. Some devices are based migration of dye through a filter paper, while others contain pouches with bacterial fluids that change color when certain time-temperature combinations have been reached. To the degree that these physical changes in the indicator match the degradation rate of the food, the indicator can help indicate probable food degradation.
Digital Temperature data loggers are available to indicate the full temperature history of a shipment to help identify the time period that out-of-tolerance temperatures were encountered. This temperature history can be used to calculate the loss of shelf life or the likelihood of spoilage. These small recorders are also used to identify the time (and thus location) of a shipment when the problem occurred, which allows for corrective action.
TTI's food industry
Surveys within the EU projects "Freshlabel" and "Chill-on" have shown a positive feedback by consumers to the use of TTIs on food products. As TTIs help assure the cool chain of food products, they are expected to reduce the amount of food waste, as well as reducing the number of foodborne illnesses.
- Robertson, Gordon L (1993). Food Packaging: Principles and Practice. New York: Marcel Dekker. p. 375.
- Riva, Marco; Piergiovanni, Schiraldi (January 2001), "Performances of time-temperature indicators in the study of temperature exposure of packaged fresh foods", Packaging Technology and Science 14 (1): 1–39, doi:10.1002/pts.521
- BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/foodwewaste_fullreport08_05_08.pdf
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- ASTM F1416 Standard Guide for Selection of Time-Temperature Indicators
- Yam, K. L., "Encyclopedia of Packaging Technology", John Wiley & Sons, 2009, ISBN 978-0-470-08704-6
- FDA regulation on the use of TTI's in the seafood industry.
- Article on the introduction of a TTI at a large food producer
- WRAP Food Waste Report (PDF-Datei; 1,44 MB)
- WHO Factsheet on the global amount of food related illnesses
- Article on the introduction of a TTI at a food producer in Switzerland