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#1 NicoD

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 06:14 PM

Hello everyone,

 

I would be grateful if you could give me your opinion about the suitability of a "certificate of conformance" instead of a calibration certificate for thermometers (IR in this specific case, but not only) that are brand new, just purchased, and to be used at receiving of frozen meat for surface temperature check for food safety and accept/reject purposes.

 

I noticed it's a common (and disappointing) practice of manufacturers of thermometers to sell it without calibration certificate, just with a "certificate of conformance".

If you want the calibration certificate, you have to pay an extra 50-100 dollars usually.

 

In my opinion, this is not fair. I understand somebody has to pay for a certificate if to be calibrated is an existing/old product. But if you're buying a brand new product, it should be sold fit and ready to be used at least for its intended main purpose.

In the case of a thermometer, its main purpose is to measure temperatures, which makes a non-accurate thermometer simply useless. So, when it's new, it should give accurate results and the manufacturer should sell it with proof that it is accurate, that is a certificate.

It doesn't make sense to ask more money for a new product. It's as if we buy a new car, but it's not completely sure that its brakes or axes are safe, so, right after leaving the car dealer, we have to go somewhere and pay to have it checked and for a safety certificate! A safety certificate is understandable for a used car, but a new one should imply safety already, and at the highest level actually. I understand if I also want my brand new car certified as suitable to resist under water, but at least the safety of its main purposes (drive, brake, etc.) should be implied in a new product.

 

Besides my above controversy, here are the questions I'd like to submit to your experience:

 

• For food safety, HACCP, FSMA, and SQF level 2 and audit purposes, is a new IR thermometer (emissivity adjustable at need) with just a "Certificate of Conformance" acceptable, or does it still need to be also calibrated and provided with a calibration certificate?

 

• For the purposes of the point above, is a 2-points calibration certificate also acceptable, or only 3-point ones?

 

• Do you agree with my polemic written above?

 

Thanks so much.


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#2 Charles.C

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 09:14 PM

Hi Nico,

 

Never used IR thermometers for foods since i always got the impression they are, traditionally, insufficiently accurate. Maybe i am wrong.

 

 COC vs COA is a never-ending conversational topic, eg -

 

http://gsqa.com/cocs...e-really-worth/

 

IMO the choice of thermometer depends on the level of accuracy desired for your intended usage, your budget, your FS requirements (if any).

 

Most FS standards will probably expect annual recalibration anyway.

 

IMEX the accuracy/capabilities/stability will relate to the price, eg cheap thermocouples rarely offer zero adjustment.

 

I have always bought one "expensive" unit, had it calibrated at my usage levels and then designated it as a master thermometer for routinely calibrating other units.


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#3 mikepeters57301

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 11:40 PM

I agree with everything charles said.  I always purchase the cert.  It might be an unneeded expense, but its one less thing for an auditor to question.    

 

Make sure you are routinely checking calibrating against a certified thermometer, boiling water, ice water, etc


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#4 GMO

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 06:14 AM

Purchase the certificate and next time caveat emptor.  It's a pricing structure which is akin to the low price airlines but not all manufacturers do it.  Check in advance if certificates are included and if they're not then the alternative which looked more expensive may be cheaper after all.


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#5 NicoD

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 12:38 PM

Thanks so much everybody!

 

 

Hi Nico,

 

Never used IR thermometers for foods since i always got the impression they are, traditionally, insufficiently accurate. Maybe i am wrong.

 

 COC vs COA is a never-ending conversational topic, eg -

 

http://gsqa.com/cocs...e-really-worth/

 

IMO the choice of thermometer depends on the level of accuracy desired for your intended usage, your budget, your FS requirements (if any).

 

Most FS standards will probably expect annual recalibration anyway.

 

IMEX the accuracy/capabilities/stability will relate to the price, eg cheap thermocouples rarely offer zero adjustment.

 

I have always bought one "expensive" unit, had it calibrated at my usage levels and then designated it as a master thermometer for routinely calibrating other units.

 

Charles, do you use the expensive unit to literally calibrate the other thermometers on your own, or to just check if they're still calibrated, but, if not, your send them to a calibration company?

 

I agree with everything charles said.  I always purchase the cert.  It might be an unneeded expense, but its one less thing for an auditor to question.    

 

Make sure you are routinely checking calibrating against a certified thermometer, boiling water, ice water, etc

 

Thanks Mike. 

 

Purchase the certificate and next time caveat emptor.  It's a pricing structure which is akin to the low price airlines but not all manufacturers do it.  Check in advance if certificates are included and if they're not then the alternative which looked more expensive may be cheaper after all.

 

Thanks GMO.

 

The bottom line is: we all agree that the calibration certificate is better than the certificate of conformance. That's why, in my opinion, since when a product is bought brand new it must function properly, at least pertaining its main functions and reason to exist, the calibration certificate should be provided with every new thermometer for no extra cost. In my opinion it is an unfair practice to ask for extra money on top of the cost of the new product.

It's like saying: yes, you can buy our new car, but, you know, we can't guarantee 100% it will work properly. It'll be just a word of mouth assurance. If you want that guarantee you have to pay an extra amount for a safety/efficiency check. On a brand new car? Are we kidding?


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#6 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 04:17 PM

 

 

 

The bottom line is: we all agree that the calibration certificate is better than the certificate of conformance. That's why, in my opinion, since when a product is bought brand new it must function properly, at least pertaining its main functions and reason to exist, the calibration certificate should be provided with every new thermometer for no extra cost. In my opinion it is an unfair practice to ask for extra money on top of the cost of the new product.

It's like saying: yes, you can buy our new car, but, you know, we can't guarantee 100% it will work properly. It'll be just a word of mouth assurance. If you want that guarantee you have to pay an extra amount for a safety/efficiency check. On a brand new car? Are we kidding?

 

 

 

I disagree, you're paying for all the infrastructure necessary for tracebility, NIST memberships/certifications etc. That's like saying you shouldn't pay more for products produced in a GFSI facility. Yes all food purchased should already be safe, but the GFSI certification costs the manufacturer money, and it needs to be paid for with pricing/opportunities.


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#7 NicoD

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 04:31 PM

 

 

 

I disagree, you're paying for all the infrastructure necessary for tracebility, NIST memberships/certifications etc. That's like saying you shouldn't pay more for products produced in a GFSI facility. Yes all food purchased should already be safe, but the GFSI certification costs the manufacturer money, and it needs to be paid for with pricing/opportunities.

 

 

This debate is getting interesting :spoton:, thanks FurFarmandFork.

I see your point, just think the example you used is not exactly pertinent with the issue here.

 

Between a GFSI certified food product and a "normal" food product, there's a huge range of difference. You can sell foods that are not GFSI certified and still are offering the main good: food.

GFSI certification is an extra value that is added to the food. But the food is there, at least it's not spoiled.

 

A thermometer that isn't accurate, on the contrary, fails to reach its main purpose, its raison d'être. It's as if the food you buy not only is not GFSI certified but is also visibly spoiled or moldy: it fails its main purpose to be edible. A non-accurate thermometer is not "edible". So, what does it take to assure absolutely that it is accurate? A certificate of calibration? Than it should be included with a new thermometer.

 

It's not like food that, if it's not GFSI certified, you can still eat it. If a thermometer isn't accurate, it's pointless. You can use it as a fancy key holder.

 

So, if you ask for a "service", that is, to calibrate an old/used thermometer, then, of course, because it's a service, and it takes time and the costs you mentioned, it should be paid for.

But if you buy a brand new thermometer, that performance should be implied by default, not as an option.

 

The bottom line is: if a product is new, it can't be sold faulty. And, if a thermometer isn't accurate, it's faulty, so it fails its main purpose.

So, if there are other ways to absolutely assure that the product is not faulty (that, for a thermometer, means that is accurately calibrated), very well, than the certificate of calibration is an "extra", like GFSI is for food. Then I agree with you 100%.

 

But if the only way to guarantee that is a certificate of calibration, than it should be considered part of the main purpose of the thermometer.

 

Going back to your example, if the only way to guarantee that food is not spoiled is a GFSI certificate, than it's not a "plus", it's a "must". Which is not the case of course.


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#8 GMO

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 07:10 PM

In my opinion it is an unfair practice to ask for extra money on top of the cost of the new product.

It's like saying: yes, you can buy our new car, but, you know, we can't guarantee 100% it will work properly. It'll be just a word of mouth assurance. If you want that guarantee you have to pay an extra amount for a safety/efficiency check. On a brand new car? Are we kidding?

 

Yes.  I agree.  It's also a fact that it's virtually impossible to take a Ryanair flight without Michael O'Leary picking your pocket.  It's sneaky and it's not nice as a customer.  Vote with your feet.


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#9 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 08:09 PM

It's not like food that, if it's not GFSI certified, you can still eat it. If a thermometer isn't accurate, it's pointless. You can use it as a fancy key holder.

 

 

Depends on what you mean by accurate. No problem if my outdoor pond thermometer gets within +/- 3ºf. If I don't need a thermometer that is accurate to 0.1º for my purpose, why pay for that accuracy. It's no different than purchasing calibrated weights for your scale. a 25Kg weight that's accurate to +/-0.5Kg is just fine for a pallet scale, so buy that class of weight. But if you're using it on your gram scale, that level of accuracy will be insufficient.

 

Maybe the better way to think about it is that the calibration certificate is the "normal" price for a high accuracy thermometer, and if you don't need it then you get a discount in exchange for less accuracy.


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#10 NicoD

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 09:29 PM

Depends on what you mean by accurate. No problem if my outdoor pond thermometer gets within +/- 3ºf. If I don't need a thermometer that is accurate to 0.1º for my purpose, why pay for that accuracy. It's no different than purchasing calibrated weights for your scale. a 25Kg weight that's accurate to +/-0.5Kg is just fine for a pallet scale, so buy that class of weight. But if you're using it on your gram scale, that level of accuracy will be insufficient.

 

Maybe the better way to think about it is that the calibration certificate is the "normal" price for a high accuracy thermometer, and if you don't need it then you get a discount in exchange for less accuracy.

 

You have a point!

 

I didn't know the matter was an accuracy of 0.1º.

 

So, I'd say, if there is any other use for a non-certificate of calibration thermometer, than the certificate is a plus, and I agree with you.

 

Thanks for the interesting points.


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#11 Charles.C

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 01:19 AM

Thanks so much everybody!

 

Charles, do you use the expensive unit to literally calibrate the other thermometers on your own, or to just check if they're still calibrated, but, if not, your send them to a calibration company?

 

 

Hi Nico,

 

Yes, precisely that.

Of course, as already noted, all thermometers are not required/created to be equal. :smile:


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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