School Nutrition Temperature Monitoring

Engenuity and Sonicu: Your Trusted Partners in Food Safety

Hundreds of K-12 professionals turn to Engenuity every day to help them improve their facility and energy management. 

School business and nutrition leaders can now rely on their trusted partner to deliver affordable and trusted temperature monitoring to help keep their food protected during a period of heightened food price sensitivity. 

Ingenuity partner Sonicu today provides trusted and reliable temperature monitoring to scores of schools and universities across the United States. 

The system is easy to install, configure and is backed up by live U.S.-based phone support. 

The primary benefits customers enjoy from Sonicu include

  • Asset Protection: Get alerts when a freezer is malfunctioning to protect assets like medicines, vaccines, blood, research, sperm/eggs
  • Compliance Automation: Creates simple reports to satisfy local/state/federal regulations
  • Operational Efficiency: Spend less time capturing data manually: Both temps/conditions and reporting

The Sonicu system comes with a full hardware warranty while the Engenuity team can make it easy to get up and running with full integration into your facilities department for wide alarming and reporting. 

And the free mobile app ensures your staff is always connected to their food cold storage units and ready to respond if a malfunction occurs and threatens your students’ nutrition needs.

If the substantial cost and time saving benefits for a remote wireless temperature monitoring system like Sonicu are not enough, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering grants to supplement the cost of new kitchen equipment. 

How the Funding Works: Solicit your State Department of Education 

The grant funding works alongside other financial support assisting schools in navigating challenges – including the additional reimbursement funds for school meals, and supply chain allocation funds to purchase domestic food for meal programs, according to the Department of Agriculture. 

Schools can apply the funding to purchase equipment for a variety of important improvements, including 

  • Purchasing tools that support scratch cooking
  • Storing fresh food from local producers
  • Receiving food deliveries in a more efficient manner

These improvements will be used to 

  • Maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency 
  • Increase the efficiency of SFA procurement
  • Enabling a wider variety of food purchases through scratch cooking 

Additionally, the award of these grants will benefit recipient school nutrition officials by helping them meet equipment needs associated with a return to standard operating procedures following the pandemic. 

The U.S.D.A. encourages school officials to take advantage of the training offered by the companies on how to use their specific equipment.

“At Sonicu we take great pride in our limitless on-demand training as well as our monthly live training designed to ensure every one of our customers understands how to use our temperature and IAQ monitoring technology to improve their safety,” said Bryan Mitchell, Marketing, Sonicu. 

The $50 million dollars in ARPA funding is in addition to the $30 million provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022, (PL 117-103). 

This ARPA funding is being made available to state agencies in addition to the previously announced $30 million to competitively award Equipment Assistance sub grants to eligible SFAs participating in the NSLP.

The cost can vary depending on the volume and number of areas monitored, the length of the contract and the type of sensors deployed. 

These factors can have a significant impact on the cost per unit per month to be deployed. 

It’s important to remember there are four items that require payment. 

The first, is the hardware. The temperature probes, the communicating meters, the wires and other accessories that collect and transmit the temperature data to your cloud software. 

Second, is the installation cost. Again, self-installation is possible, but more customers opt for professional installation and Enguity will be able to add this process to their regular visits to your schools. 

Engenuity can work hand-in-hand with your nutrition, facility and business management team to ensure the system is installed and configured appropriately so your district receives the highest possible return on investment. 

Third, ongoing software costs. These start at $11 per month per unit, and decrease with the number of units being monitored and the length of the contract term. 

Fourth, ongoing calibration should you select NIST probes. 

When you’re shopping for a new temperature monitoring system for your school nutrition program, we advise you to ask about all four of these price elements so you can compare the initial and ongoing costs appropriately. 

Engenuity and Sonicu will take the time to walk through all of these cost considerations in great detail to ensure you fully understand the costs and select the option most appropriate for your district. 

One size rarely fits all, and we’re committed to building a custom application that meets your exact needs and expectations.

Sonicu provides probes certified by NIST( National Institute of Standards and Technology), which means the temperature readings are certified as accurate by an independent government-endorsed third party. 

Why is that important? 

Many Sonicu customers include hospitals and laboratories that are protecting life-saving drugs and priceless research, meaning the temperature readings must be absolutely trusted. You can trust that the hardware being used to protect your students’ food is held to the highest standards and trusted by physicians, nurses, researchers and government agencies. 

Moreover, these probes are important for many of Engenuity and Sonicu customers in the healthcare and life science industries, where government regulators keep a close eye on the audit trail of temperatures and environmental conditions. 

But most schools might not be as worried about the absolute precision of temperature and are more focused on getting alerts when the cooler or freezer fails, having ready-made reports when the county health department conducts a snap audit and freeing up costly staff hours with manual logging of temperatures across every school cafeteria. 

You have a choice with Sonicu and Engenuity: 

You can deploy NIST sensors or you can use less costly sensors which can still provide you and your staff with many of the benefits from a remote wireless temperature monitoring system.

Again, we will not assume you need the most robust (and costly) option but will instead show you the options and compare prices to help you deploy a system that meet your needs. 

With a vast array of software apps and products, Sonicu and Engenuity deliver top-notch calibration services that can support validation, traceability, compliance, and quality assurance.

Our systems will help you record and monitor deviations and inaccuracies in detail and provide precise results. 

Again, calibration will only be required if you opt for NIST sensors. 

This may be a new term to your nutrition team and business managers, and we will be sure you appreciate the nuance and select the right temperature probes to best serve your needs.

In short, however you prefer. 

Engenuity can install the system and work with your nutrition staff to deploy and customize the system to your needs with the Sonicu customer success managers. 

That means setting up the alarms and alerts, including the phone call alerts that may be the only 2 a.m. call your facility manager appreciates if it means protecting $10,000 in food from spoilage or loss. 

Or your staff can use videos available from Sonicu to self-install the system. While most Sonicu customers prefer professional installation, about 25 percent install the system with their staff.

These videos should help you appreciate the installation process: 

Every piece of the temperature monitoring system is backed by a full warranty while the system remains under software subscription. That means you can simply send the hardware back to Sonicu and we will send you a replacement at zero cost. 

However, this does not cover legacy units that have been replaced by new, better models. 

In short, as long as the hardware you installed is the current model being sold to new customers, it will be replaced at no cost. 

If the hardware is aging and no longer sold as new, Sonicu and Engenuity will work with you to sell a new unit at a discounted price. 

Since the high power demand during summer can cause power outages, this can be a serious problem for any organization that deals with food safety. Fortunately, Sonicu has engineered our products to manage this potential risk. 

If the power fails, the Duo communicating meter, which sends the information from the temperature probe to your SoniCloud instance, reverts to its backup, on-board memory which can run for up to a year. It can keep capturing data and communicating even without power thanks to its ability to also store the data on the Duo device. 

In short, neither a power or network outage will disrupt your temperature monitoring. All of your data will continue to be captures, and then reconciled with your cloud reports once the power and/or connectivity is restored. 

We call this feature DataSync, and it helps our most exacting customers like hospitals and labs feel confident their precious materials are protected. 

But you will get an alert showing either or both disruptions, which is an additional benefit of the Sonicu system. It can provide you real-time alerts of power or network outages that may impact far more than just your food storage. 

Nevertheless, planning for such situations can help your walk-in cooler or refrigerator maintain safe temperatures. Refrigerators and freezers are insulated to keep foods cold even when the power is off for a few hours. 

However, if the doors are not shut correctly or if they keep being opened, the cold can be lost fairly rapidly. 

Foods stored in fully loaded freezers can last for two days or so, but those in partially loaded freezers may last for a day. That’s right, even the capacity of your freezer matters as the cold items can serve as frozen 

Perishable refrigerated foods should be discarded if a power outage takes more than two hours. However, restaurants can use ice blocks to increase the shelf life of refrigerated products.