Refrigerator/Freezer - Monitoring Temperature for Food Storage

If a digital minimum/maximum thermometer with an alarm is used to monitor the refrigerator and freezer temperatures, does there need to be daily documentation of the temperature?

Any examples are for illustrative purposes only. 

The Joint Commission does not specifically require temperature logs for refrigerators and freezers used for food storage. Standard CTS.04.03.33 requires that food and nutrition products are stored under proper conditions of sanitation, temperature, light, moisture, ventilation, and security. These variables must be monitored to assure proper storage. A digital minimum/maximum thermometer with a built in alarm could be used to monitor the temperature of the refrigerator and freezer if the temperature range for minimum and maximum temperatures are properly established.

With this device if the temperature goes outside the set range an alarm will sound. As a result daily monitoring by staff would not need to occur. However, staff would need to periodically check to be assured that the thermometer battery is still charged and the thermometer remains accurate. Staff would also need to demonstrate competence to set the appropriate temperature range and activate the alarm. If the alarm has sounded appropriate steps would need to be taken to determine how long the refrigerator or freezer has been out of the designated range. This may require the disposal of the food products.
Last updated on May 06, 2020
Manual: Behavioral Health
Chapter: Care Treatment and Services CTS

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