Performance Fleet Optimization fleet tracking refrigeration tracking

Must-Have Features for Refrigeration Tracking

Here are the must-have features for refrigeration tracking to ensure you’re meeting FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) guidelines.

March 1, 2018


There’s no use crying over spilled milk, nor melted ice cream — unless you happen to manage a fleet of refrigerated trucks. In that case, melted ice cream can mean a big-time disaster for your image and your bottom line.


The FDA started requiring remote monitoring of refrigerated trucks in 2016. The rule was imposed as part of the FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act). In short, it requires operators of refrigerated trucks to track the temperatures of their shipments. Thanks to modern technology, it’s now possible to monitor the temperature of a loaded trailer remotely, and at a reasonable cost.


Though there are some exceptions to the policy, if you plan to transport food in a refrigerated truck, you will likely need a refrigeration tracking system. Before choosing one, make sure the solution you choose offers the features you need.


Real-Time Monitoring


It’s essential to monitor temperature changes in real-time, or as close to real-time as is practical. The ideal monitoring system would show continuous temperature data. Due to the size of most trailered loads, a sampling interval of 1–5 minutes should be sufficient, though shorter intervals can be helpful.  


It’s critical to remain in the know. If the temperature rises beyond expectations, quick action to either fix the reefer unit or transfer to a different vehicle is required. Make sure the system you’re considering offers configurable update intervals.


Multiple Zones


A 40’ trailer will require at least four separate zones for adequate temperature monitoring. A single-zone monitor can’t adequately describe the temperature situation throughout the trailer. With four zones, you’ll know the hot spots (and cold) spots. The more zones, the better — though most specialists agree four is sufficient for food transport.


Communications Protocols


Most reefer monitoring systems use GPS combined with a basic cellular data service. GPS reports the location of the trailer, and all collected data is transferred through the cellular network.




The best refrigeration monitoring systems provide alert notifications through SMS, email, and a user-friendly website. Alerts are set to trigger when temperatures change beyond an established threshold, or if the trailer leaves a geographical area (geofencing).


Keep in mind the worst-case scenario when creating your monitoring plan. A power outage or other disaster at HQ shouldn’t make the reefer situation in the trucks invisible.


Systems Integration


The best solution is a refrigeration monitoring system that seamlessly integrates with your general fleet tracking system. There are great benefits to tracking data through the same tools used to measure speed, location, and the mechanical health of the tractor. These include the easy correlation of reference data with information on the truck’s idle time and general driver performance. Integrating refrigeration monitoring with fleet tracking can give fleet managers a competitive advantage.


Overall Function


In shopping for a refrigeration monitoring solution, keep overall function in mind. You want the solution that not only meets minimal FDA standards, but helps you more effectively manage your trucking business.


You don’t want to catch yourself crying over spilled milk, nor melted ice cream.



Are you compliant with the FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)?

CyntrX offers two refrigeration monitoring solutions to ensure you meet the new standards. Learn about your options and which is right for your fleet.