Restaurant kitchens worldwide make frequent use of thermometers and temperature probes to ensure that foods stay at the appropriate temperatures and avoid staying in the danger zone (about 41°F to 135°F), which is the range of temperatures at which potentially dangerous bacteria can proliferate with relative ease.
Bluetooth probes specifically are wireless thermometers that chefs and restaurant workers will use to quickly gauge the temperature of a food or ingredient and have that temperature relayed wirelessly back to a computer or personal device. The sheer convenience of them makes them very popular, but many people don’t realize how easily they can slip outside of FDA allowances for inaccuracy.
Bluetooth probes generally use a kind of electronic sensor called a thermocouple. This type of sensor can’t be beat for accuracy and speed; we definitely use them in our own temperature probes. But not all thermocouple Bluetooth probes are equally capable.
Here’s what we mean.
A thermocouple device typically works within a given temperature range for a stated level of accuracy. For example, a restaurant-grade device might have a stated accuracy of ± 0.5°F (that is its error rate) as long as the temperature is within the range of 68°F to 86°F.
The device loses accuracy outside of that temperature range. In fact, it becomes increasingly inaccurate the farther outside of that range you get. If the temperature drops 10 degrees below 68 degrees (or ten degrees above 86°F), you add an additional ±1° margin of error.
Where this is important: most restaurants will take temperature measurements in a variety of environments with different, extreme temperatures. If you are in your refrigerator at 38°F using that same thermometer described above (that is, ± 0.5°F within the range of 68°F to 86°F), your stated accuracy will have fallen to ± 3.5°F.
Under FDA rules, the least accurate thermometer you can have is ± 2.0°F.
In other words, that thermometer is not just inadequate to your needs, its performance is significantly worse that what the FDA allows.
When evaluating Bluetooth probes, you must ensure that is has an accuracy level that meets the environment of a restaurant. Make note of the temperature ranges to which the device will be exposed – and ensure a level of accuracy that will meet your needs.