Noncontact infrared (IR) thermometers use infrared technology to quickly and conveniently measure the surface temperature of objects. They provide fasttemperature readings without physically touching the object. You simply aim, pull the trigger and read the temperature on the LCD display. Lightweight, compact, and easy-to-use, IR thermometers can safely measure hot, hazardous, or hard-to-reach surfaces without contaminating or damaging the object. Also, infrared thermometers can provide several readings per second, as compared to contact methods where each measurement can take several minutes.
How does IR work?
IR thermometers capture the invisible infrared energy naturally emitted from all objects. Infrared radiation is part of the electromagnetic spectrum which includes radio waves, microwaves, visible light, ultraviolet, gamma, and X-rays
This infrared "invisible heat" of an object is transferred in three ways: Reflected, Transmitted, and Emitted. Reflected energy is not particularly related to the temperature of the target object, and transmitted heat is related to the both the internal temperature of the target object and the temperature of the "transmitted to" object. The only type of energy that can be used to tell that actual surface temperature of the object is Emitted energy. When IR thermometers are used to measure surface temperature they can potentially sense all three kinds of energy, therefore all thermometers have to be adjusted to read Emitted energy only.
Measuring errors are often caused by IR energy being reflected by light sources. Some IR thermometers allow you to change the Emissivity in the unit. The value of Emissivity for various materials can be looked up in published Emissivity table. Other units have a fixed, pre-set Emissivity of 0.95, which is the Emissivity value for most organic materials and painted or oxidized surfaces. If you are using a thermometer with a fixed Emissivity to measure the surface temperature of a shiny object you can compensate by covering the surface to be measured with masking tape or flat black paint. Allow time for the tape or paint to reach the same temperature as the material underneath. Measure the temperature of the taped or painted surface. That is the true temperature.
When measuring shiny surfaces, such as aluminum and stainless steel, the reflectivity (emissivity related) of the surface will skew the reading of an IR thermometer unless you accommodate for it. Either coat surfaces such as griddles or cooking pans with a non-stick cooking spray before you take your reading, or place a small piece of masking tape on the metal surface and measure the taped area.
About Ambient Temperature Effects
An IR thermometer can go from kitchen to cold storage (above freezing) and still provide an accurate reading if given time to acclimate to the new ambient temperature. It's best to leave the unit where it will be used most often. Note: If the unit is left in an environment below freezing, it will temporarily fail to operate properly. Use an IR thermometer to read internal temperatures of liquids, such as soups or sauces, simply by stirring the liquid and then reading the surface temperature. Keep the thermometer away from steam to avoid condensation on the lens, which will skew your reading.
The Two Important Accurate Temperature Measurement Tips
Quality assurance begins at the receiving dock. When a delivery of fresh or frozen food arrives, use your All QA Products IR thermometer to check that the products, shipping crates, and internal temperature of the delivery truck are all at the right temperatures.
Once received, verify that frozen and chilled foods are stored at or below 40°F (4.4°C) to assure freshness and quality. In supermarkets where product may be stacked unevenly or too high in display cases and freezers, check to find warm spots or uneven cooling. Also, you can quickly and frequently monitor proper temperatures of all items stored in walk-ins.
Exact temperatures become vital to preventing food-borne illness. To avoid bacteria growth, many foods must be cooked to a specific temperature. An All QA Products thermometer instantly confirms that your surface temperatures are within safe parameters. In order to confirm internal temperatures, you can use All QA Products thermometer that feature an internal probe.
4) Holding and Serving.
Food products that are ready to be served or sold and are located in holding or serving areas must be kept out of the Temperature Danger Zone which is 40 to 140° F or 4.4 to 60° C.
You can use your noncontact thermometer to check more than just the temperature of food. You can also evaluate the performance of your equipment and machinery.
Food safety requires strict temperature guidelines. The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point Program (HACCP) provides food safety procedures that look at the flow of food between different temperature zones from the receiving dock to the table, and all the stops in between. Infrared temperature measurement is the fastest and most efficient method of monitoring food safety along the Critical Control Points (CCP) in HACCP standards.
Following proper temperature monitoring procedures is much easier when the process is quick and convenient. This is the appeal of point-and-shoot infrared (IR) thermometers. They are small, lightweight, simple to use, and accurate. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggested the use of infrared thermometers starting with the 1999 Federal Food Code, Annex 4, Section 8, and continued that in all subsequent versions.
All QA noncontact thermometers are widely used to ensure that food is safe from time/temperature abuse at every step of processing and preparation. Along with contact methods requiring use of probes and conventional thermometers, immediate noncontact scanning of surface temperatures is part of a fully integrated andcomprehensive food safety program.
Infrared Thermometer Uses in Gourmet/Specialty Cooking
Many specialty food recipes call for very specific preparation temperatures. For example, sugar used in meringues and icings relaxes to the softball stage at 220° F (104° C); at 320° F (160° C) caramel reaches the stage for flavoring and decorating, and at 350° F (177° C) it darkens. By using an IR thermometer you can instantly check these temperatures and avoid the mess of using a contact thermometer.
Experience notwithstanding, it is often difficult to know when cooking surfaces have reached the proper temperatures. For example, a common way to test whether a griddle is "pancake ready" is to see if a drop of water skittles across its surface. But water does this at a wide temperature range ... roughly between 320° to 440° F (160° to 227° C) ... whereas pancakes griddle best between 350° and 370° F (177° and 188° C) and meat, on the other hand, sears best at about 450° F (232° C).
By instantly knowing these temperatures you can avoid the guesswork and ensure food is cooked perfectly. All QA Products noncontact IR thermometers can help you monitor everything from food to fixtures with one hand-held instrument.