Business hots up for food safety firm

A Co Donegal company plans to do for food safety what book-keeping software did for accounting.

Kelsius has already received €41m investment and its new app for tablet computers and integrated temperature management systems will allow the company take the laborious form-filling out of hazard analysis and critical control points food safety checks.

Kelsius managing director Ultan O’Raghallaigh said the feedback they have received is that clients using their system so far love the product.

“If you are walking down any main street and look around you will see a number of outlets that are all trialling our product. People who are doing trials with it absolutely love it,” he said.

Mr O’Raghallaigh is confident that with a little bit of luck they can grow Kelsius into a company with revenue of tens of millions a year by accessing international restaurants such as McDonald’s and the multi -billion euro international contract catering industry.

Kelsius originally developed a temperature management system that was used by about 300 small businesses, including Spar and Centra shops.

The company was founded in 2002 and concentrated on the food market until 2008, when after receiving venture capital funding a decision was taken to target the pharmaceutical and laboratory markets.

The company’s sensors were reconfigured to communicate with a cloud- based analysis system. This system would send an alert to users if the temperature in a storage unit got too hot or too cold. The system also generated a log of the temperatures as proof that the products were kept within a required range.

“Drugs increasingly have to be temperature-controlled. If the temperature goes out of a range, the medication may lose its effectiveness. Blood banks and labs holding human tissue also need to have their temperatures measured and maintained,” said Mr O’Raghallaigh

Although the product proved very successful, the market turned out to be smaller than expected.

“Today we monitor about 100 facilities in the UK and Ireland. The hospital market turned out to be smaller than expected,” added Mr O’Raghallaigh.

The company began developing its hazard analysis and critical control points (HAACP) product Food Check 18 months ago, coinciding with tablet computers’ rise to prominence.

Using tablet computers integrated with the temperature monitoring system Kelsius had already developed, the company now offers an all-in-one hazard analysis and critical control points product.

At present, food companies must take temperature samples intermittently, as well as logging cleaning and disinfecting of all utensils and surfaces.

The Kelsius system removes the temperature monitoring to the cloud and provides an easy-to-use interactive system for logging all other aspects of hazard analysis and critical control points and generating a real time report for health and safety inspectors.

Mr O’Raghallaigh said food safety has been of growing importance to companies ever since the EU introduced legislation in response to mad cow disease. Health inspectors are now empowered to shut down premises, causing reputational damage, if a company doesn’t comply with stringent food legislation.

“Large companies need to protect the quality image of the brand that they have built,” he added.


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