An Interview with Alison Williams of Ready Foods, Inc
Following is a conversation with Alison Williams, quality assurance supervisor with Ready Foods, Inc. out of Denver, Colorado. Alison is directly responsible for the development and maintenance of the company’s written quality prerequisite programs and policies, HACCP compliance, regulatory standards/enforcement, and third-party audits.
Ready Foods has earned a great reputation for quality excellence over the years. How has the company been able to achieve this?
Ready Foods, Inc. was founded in 1972 by the Abarca family. Their goal was to produce a complete line of Mexican food products for the food service and retail industries. In time, the company used its knowledge of food processing to expand into the production of soups, sauces, and deli items.
Ready Foods, Inc. has grown into a full-service custom food processor. Satisfying our customers is the single most important aspect of our business. We have been able to prosper because we have always been dedicated to providing our customers with a legally-compliant, quality product in a timely manner. Food safety is our main priority, one that we take very seriously, which is why we have dedicated a diverse team of expertise as well as reliable resources.
What role does temperature monitoring play in your operations?
All of our products require strict monitoring of temperatures. This includes raw materials such as fresh produce and dairy products, as well as our finished products such as soups, sauces, gravies, and dressings.
We use Onset HOBO® UX100 Thermocouple loggers in the cold storage areas of our facility. They provide an excellent high-resolution screen for exact real-time temperatures, and serve as a backup system to our building automation system, which provides continuous monitoring throughout the whole facility.
What monitoring methods were used prior to implementing data loggers?
Previously, we had been using disposable data loggers, which utilized carbon chart ribbon, as a backup to our building automation system. We found these to be extremely inefficient and inaccurate as a reliable backup to our cold storage control program.
Tell us about how you’re collecting and viewing the temperature data.
The data loggers measure and record temperatures every five minutes around the clock. We want to ensure temperatures are being maintained between 32° and 41°F. To view and analyze the data, we’re able to leverage HOBOware Pro® software, which we currently utilize for the Onset loggers.
We analyze the data on an as-needed basis, with verification at least once a month. It gives us a second level of assurance that proper temperatures are being maintained, and it also allows us to correlate building automation system alarms with the time-stamped readings from the loggers.
What are the main advantages of the technology for Ready Foods?
For us, the data loggers are verifiable units that provide real-time temperature data on an easy-to-read screen. We like the fact that they are portable and can be moved around. The fact that they are battery-powered is also an advantage. If our building automation system should get struck by lightning, for example, we know that our backup system will be accurate and reliable.