Food Engineering

Food Packaging: In package temperature sensors gain converts

August 13, 2003


The tips of Cook'd Right disposable sensors turn from blue to red when hot dogs and hamburgers reach the proper temperature. The sensors are packaged with ready-to-cook meats.
With the outdoor barbecue season in full swing, cases of foodborne illnesses are at their annual peak as amateur chefs incorrectly gauge the internal temperature of Aunt Sally’s medium-rare burger.

Disposable temperature sensors are one way to take the guesswork out of grilling, and Norcross, Ga.-based Volk Enterprises Inc. is pitching the Cook’d Right Sensor to meet processors. A southeastern company packaged the devices with frozen patties called PreGame Burgers last year, but financial difficulties forced the firm to withdraw from the market. The devices also are packaged with pork loins and roasts from Hatfield Quality Meats. The Scandinavian airline SAS uses the sensors to verify in-flight hold temperatures as part of its HACCP program, according to Jason Huggins, Volk’s regional sales manager.

Volk makes the molded, yellow nylon stick-like units, then turns them over to a subcontractor who dips the tips into a chemical solution. The solution’s concentration is varied to react to heat at different calibrations, customizing the sensor to various meats’ cooking requirements.

Packing eight sensors with a package of hot dogs would be too expensive, Huggins allows. The solution is a unit that can be reused up to 24 times. The reusable unit costs 10 cents and features a black tip that turns maroon when the meat is cooked. Huggins says “a major warehouse club” may include the sensors in multi-pack products.

For more information:

Jason Huggins, Volk Enterprises Inc.

770-441-1443, jhuggins@volkinc.com