This area is for people interested in thermal products and processes related to food. Click on the items below.

    Case studies

    Case 1. How do you measure the temperature of wet fish?

    Case 2. How do you estimate the refrigeration load for a new food product?

    Case 3. How to avoid exploding potatoes during microwave heating?



    Food experts in the UK, available from the website of the Institute of Food Science & Technology

    NutriFreeze provides temperature measurement solutions for frozen and chilled foods.

    Rubislaw Consulting Ltd conducts R&D projects for the food, gas and oil industries, covering thermal properties of bio-materials and modelling of temperature and heat transfer.


    Industry guides

    A practical guide (320Kb *.DOC file) to the cold chain from factory to consumer. A basic industry guide, funded by the EC, aimed at people working with frozen foods, particularly in small and medium-sized enterprises. It advises on safe maintenance and delivery of frozen foods.

    Testo AG supply instrumentation for temperature and humidity measurement and have 
    free illustrated industry guidance documents (pdf, in German) for temperature measurement in food, infrared measurement, management and calibration of traceable testing equipment and measurement of room climate. There are also general introductory application notes (pdf, in English) on temperature and humidity measurement.



    Nutrifreeze provides some useful links to UK and some international food organisations and on food research

    SWISSI (Swiss Institute of Safety and Security, Basel) is a training and consulting centre of expertise for risk and safety for the process industries (chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food products, paper, surface coatings, etc.)

    The Procter Department of Food Science at the University of Leeds has research groups specialising in food colloids, food biochemistry, small molecule interactions, food processing

    University of Nottingham,  Division of Food Sciences specialises in fundamental and industrial food and microbiological research (flavour technology, food structure, molecular microbiology, macromolecular hydrodynamics)

    Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Association  undertakes R&D for industries associated with agriculture, food and drink manufacture, distribution, retailing and food service.

    Leatherhead Food International provides food information, market intelligence and technical and food research services:

    The Institute of Food Research is the UK's basic science provider focused on food research concerned with the safety and quality of food, and improving diet and health in people.



    Information about European Union-funded projects may be found at CORDIS (Community Research & Development Information Service). And you can try to find specific projects here.

    Ohmic heating of foods - EU project FoodPRO - heating of foods containing particles (e.g. chunks of meat in soups).

    Ohmic heating of foods - preventing fouling of heat exchangers in dairy processing. 


    Temperature measurement

    A practical guide on monitoring temperature during distribution of chilled & frozen foods. A concise and clear presentation with links to relevant websites: Temperature measurement in the cold chain (6.5Mb PPT file, 39 slides. Warning: could take some minutes to download.)

    Infrared (non-contact) temperature measurement equipment and related resources (like training, calibration & industry application notes) can be found at the sites below:

    - FLIR Systems
    - IRCON
    - Land Instruments International
    - Mikron Infrared
    - Raytek
    - Wintronics

    Thermal property data

    Firstly, try the evitherm data centre, where you might find the data you need and, if it's pay-for, more cheaply. Thermal property data may also be found at the following websites:

    COSTHERM (program for predicting thermal properties of food)

    CINDAS (thermophysical properties, mainly solids)

    eFoodSolver (has a thermal property predictor tool at the foot of the page)

    NELFOOD (food properties data)


    Modelling of temperatures in foods

    Apart from the well-established computational fluid dynamics software that has been used by the aerospace, automotive, chemical, chemical and food industries (e.g. COMSOL (formerly FLUENT), CFX, FIDAP, MARC, PHOENICS, FLOW3D, CFDS, etc.) a number of smaller and specialised software packages are available, as follows:

    HEATSOLV - Predicts temperatures in foods using a finite difference solution of the heat conduction equation for the following shapes: slab, cylinder, sphere and "fractal shape" such as a fish - somewhere between a cylinder and a slab. The food thermal properties may vary with temperature and may include phase change. The boundary conditions (Dirichlet and Neumann) may vary with time. The program is obtainable from Dr Paul Nesvadba.

    Food Product Modeller 2 (FPM2) and Refrigeration Loads Analyser (RLA). Based on research of Dr Tuan Pham FPM2 and its sister RLA enable prediction of product temperatures under processing conditions and 'what if?' scenarios that are specific to any site. Includes a database of heat transfer parameters for over 70 foods. Contact: Robert Kemp, MIRINTZ, Hamilton, New Zealand.

    CoolVan  Predicts temperatures in refrigerated foods during transport by delivery vehicles, taking into account weather conditions.  Contact: Marc Swain, FRPERC, University of Bristol, UK.

    Bertix, Baktix and Haktix. Programs predicting heat and mass transfer in cooling of carcasses, cooling and freezing of bakery products and pressure in vegetable jars (sterilisation towers). Contact: Ir S. M. Van der Sluis, TNO Department of Refrigeration, PO Box 342, 7300 AH, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands.


    Useful links

    Leatherhead Food International is a global and independent provider of food information, market intelligence and technical and food research services. It delivers consultancy services varying from large scale Government research, through individually tailored client information projects. LFI supports 1,000 members with food expertise and training programmes.

    Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association carries out research and development for the food and drinks industry, providing research, technical and advisory services.

    Federal Research Institute for Nutrition, Karlsruhe is affiliated with the German Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture.  It carries out research in the fields of nutrition and food sciences, with special emphasis on vegetables and fruit, and nutritional behaviour.  Projects include the assessment of food components and new food preservation techniques, e.g. high-pressure or osmotic treatment, and biopreservation by application of protective bacteria.


    The University of Leeds Food Modelling Club is concerned with mathematical modelling on all aspects of food production and food research.

    FLUENT - provides computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software and consulting services. The software is used for simulation, visualisation, and analysis of fluid flow, heat and mass transfer, and chemical reactions. It is a vital part of the computer-aided engineering (CAE) process for companies around the world, and is deployed in nearly every manufacturing industry.


    Guide to food temperatures in transit: indicates mandatory temperatures for QFF industry and "best practice" for chilled foods.

    European Commission information on food legislation safety standards

    The European Food Safety Authority for risk assessment on food and feed safety


    Nutrifreeze provides useful links on food quality relevant to poultry, red meat and frozen foods

    Reference materials

    For very moist foods water can serve as a reference material for thermal properties.  If convection currents are a problem, then a range of gels is available (agar, carageenan, with additives and preservatives - Tylose and Karlsruhe test substance). Glass beads (ballotini), Ottawa sand, bentonite and carboxymethylcellulose have also been proposed as standards for thermal properties of foods. 


    The food industry has to show 'due dilligence' in managing the safety of their food processing. The usual mechanism for managing the safety of processes is the HACCP system (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point). Temperature control plays an important role in HACCP. People engaged in HACCP training need to learn about temperature, chilling and freezing. 

    The Torry Research station (MAFF, Aberdeen, UK - closed in 1996) used to run courses for industrialists and issued over 80 Torry Advisory Notes on all aspects of fish technology including temperature and cold/heat. The TANs were updated in 2002 and are available from the FAO oneFish portal.

    The National Physical Laboratory of the UK runs practical courses on temperature, humidity and thermal properties for technicians and technical managers from all industries. The courses are typically of 1 to 2 days duration with an optional third day and include hands-on laboratory sessions.

    CPE Formation Continue (France) organises training seminars on the use of calorimetry for investigation of chemical reactions; defines safe working conditions, includes a visit to an industrial safety laboratory.

    SWISSI (Swiss Institute of Safety and Security, Basel) is a training and consulting centre of expertise for risk and safety for the process industries (chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food products, paper, surface coatings, etc.)