Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
THERMOMETER FOR FOOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/170229
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A thermometer (1) for food items, comprising a supporting body (2) for sensor means (3) adapted to provide a signal related to the temperature of at least one portion of a food item (20), the supporting body (2) being insertable at least partially in a food item (20) intended to be arranged inside a hermetic container ( 10) during its processing; the thermometer (1) comprises a receiver (4) adapted to receive from the sensor means (3) at least one signal related to the temperature of at least one portion of the food item (20) while the supporting body (2) is intended, during use, to be accommodated fully within the hermetic container (10); the receiver (4) is intended, during use, to be arranged fully outside the hermetic container (10).

Inventors:
TACCHELLA, Fabio (Via Chiesuola, 6 Grezzana, Frazione Stallavena, I-37023, IT)
Application Number:
IB2015/053149
Publication Date:
November 12, 2015
Filing Date:
April 30, 2015
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
DECORFOOD ITALY S.R.L. (Via Pignolo 27, Bergamo, I-24121, IT)
International Classes:
G01K1/02
Foreign References:
FR2895082A12007-06-22
US7358464B22008-04-15
US20030164713A12003-09-04
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MODIANO, Micaela et al. (Modiano & Partners, Via Meravigli 16, Milano, I-20123, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A thermometer (1 ) for food items, characterized in that it comprises a supporting body (2) for sensor means (3) adapted to provide a signal related to the temperature of at least one portion of a food item (20), said supporting body (2) being insertable at least partially in a food item (20) intended to be arranged inside a hermetic container (10) during its processing, said thermometer (1) comprising a receiver (4) adapted to receive from said sensor means (3) at least one signal related to the temperature of at least one portion of said food item (20), said supporting body (2) being intended, during use, to be accommodated fully within said hermetic container ( 10) and said receiver (4) being intended, during use, to be arranged fully outside said hermetic container ( 10), said data transmission means being powered by means of a power supply device of the wireless type, which is intended to be arranged, during use, outside said hermetic container.

2. The thermometer ( 1) according to claim 1 , characterized in that said receiver (4) is supported by a base body (5).

3. The thermometer ( 1 ) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said sensor means (3) are connected functionally to data transmission means.

4. The thermometer (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said power supply device of the wireless type is supported by said base body (5).

5. The thermometer ( 1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said base body (5) is ring-shaped and is intended, during use, to be fitted outside said hermetic container (10) and around said supporting body (2).

6. The thermometer (1 ) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises at least one electronic board associated with said sensor means (3) and with a data transmission antenna.

7. The thermometer (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said supporting body (2) has an outer layer made of silicone material adapted for food use.

8. The thermometer (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said supporting body (2) is intended to be inserted at least partially in a food item (20) that can be accommodated in a hermetic container (10) for cooking or for vacuum freezing.

9. The thermometer (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said power supply device of the wireless type is adapted to emit low-frequency waves to supply power to said sensor means (3)·

10. The thermometer ( 1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises a digital display (50) that is connected, by means of a cable (6), to said base body (5).

1 1. The thermometer according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said cable (6) comprises a first cable for transmitting data related to the temperature and a second cable for supplying power to said base body (5).

Description:
THERMOMETER FOR FOOD

The present invention relates to a thermometer for food.

Kitchen thermometers for cooking or freezing food are known and are used increasingly, not only by professionals.

Typically, such thermometers are constituted by a needle that is designed to be driven into the food item to be processed and supports a temperature detection probe.

The needle is also connected, typically at its end that is opposite to the one that carries the probe, to temperature display means.

Such display means can be constituted by a graduated scale or, increasingly often, by a digital display.

In order to allow to monitor the temperature of food during cooking in an oven or in a microwave oven, thermometers have been proposed that have a flexible wire for connection between the probe needle and the display so as to be able to check instantly the temperature of the food item without having to open the oven and without interrupting cooking.

Thermometers have been also devised in which the temperature probe is connected, by means of a device of the wireless type, to the display, therefore without any connecting cable, so as to avoid the presence of connecting wires between the probe and the display.

However, all known solutions are extremely impractical in the case of cooking or, more generally, processing of food by using the vacuum method.

Vacuum cooking is a cooking method (at low temperature or, in some cases, also at high temperature) by way of which it is possible to cook food previously placed in vacuum in a pouch or vessel.

Cooking occurs typically by stewing at a temperature comprised generally between 70°C and 100°C.

The food is assembled raw with optional sauces or dressings in the appropriate pouch or container for food and emptied of the internal air by means of a vacuum machine, to be then cooked typically in an oven, for example a steam oven.

Once cooked, the food item can be removed from its packaging and eaten or, by reducing its temperature in the blast chiller, can be preserved in the fridge or freezer.

Among other things, vacuum cooking allows to extend up to three times the preservation life of the product, since the absence of oxygen slows drastically bacterial proliferation and food oxidation and enhances the flavors and aromas of food products, keeping intact all the organoleptic properties, because the low temperatures and the steam preserve the precious nutrients and the natural humidity of the food.

Currently, the temperature of vacuum cooked food is monitored by using needle probes having an extremely small diameter and connected to a digital display.

In order to keep the packaging airtight during probe insertion and extraction, adhesive plugs, for example made of silicone or Neoprene, are available which should prevent the entry of air into the package.

It is noted, however, that it is practically impossible to prevent a certain quantity of air from entering the container.

This causes in practice an alteration of the cooking or refrigeration conditions, which are no longer in vacuum.

Moreover, usually multiple food items contained in respective containers are cooked simultaneously while temperature monitoring is performed only on one item, which, as shown, has cooking conditions that are altered due to the entry of air in the container.

This produces an evident cooking discrepancy between the food item being monitored and the others which thwarts, at least partially, the monitoring method.

Moreover, as already mentioned, the plugs have an adhesive layer in order to adhere to the outer surface of the container. Therefore, it is not possible to prevent, during the insertion of the needle through the plug, the needle from entraining traces of the adhesive inside the food item, with consequent risk of contamination of the product to be served.

The aim of the present invention is to provide a thermometer for food capable of eliminating the drawbacks mentioned above.

Within this aim, an object of the present invention is to provide a thermometer for food items that is extremely effective also in processing food in vacuum.

A further object of the present invention is to devise a thermometer for food items that has a competitive production cost, so that its use is advantageous also from the economic point of view.

This aim and these and other objects that will become better apparent hereinafter are achieved by a thermometer for food items according to what is disclosed in the appended claim 1.

Further characteristics and advantages of the invention will become better apparent from the description of some preferred but not exclusive embodiments of a thermometer for food items according to the present invention, illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein:

s Figure 1 is a perspective view of a thermometer according to the invention;

Figure 2 is again a perspective view of sensor means of the thermometer inserted inside a food item;

Figure 3 is a partially sectional elevation view of the thermometer according to the invention during its use;

Figure 4 is a view similar to Figure 3 of a constructive variation of the thermometer for food items according to the invention.

In the exemplary embodiments that follow, individual characteristics, given in relation to specific examples, may actually be interchanged with other different characteristics that exist in other exemplary embodiments. The present invention relates to a thermometer for food items, generally designated by the reference numeral 1.

The thermometer 1 comprises a supporting body 2 for sensor means

3.

The sensor means 3 are adapted to provide a signal related to the temperature of at least one portion of the food item.

The supporting body 2 can be inserted at least partially in a food item 20 to be processed.

In particular, the process to which the food item 20 is typically subjected is cooking, and in particular vacuum cooking, or deep freezing or chilling.

The food item 20 to be processed is designed to be arranged inside a hermetic container, designated generally by the reference numeral 10, during its processing.

The thermometer 1 comprises, moreover, a receiver 4, which is adapted to receive from the sensor means 3 at least one signal related to the temperature of at least one portion of the food item 20.

According to the present invention, the supporting body 2 is intended, during use, to be accommodated totally inside the hermetic container 10, while the receiver 4 is intended, during use, to be arranged fully outside the hermetic container 10.

Advantageously, transmission of the signal between the sensor means 3 and the receiver 4 occurs by means of a data transmission system of the wireless type.

Preferably, the receiver 4 is supported by a base body 5.

During use, such base body is arranged proximate to the outer surface of the hermetic container 10 within which the food item 20 is arranged and the related supporting body 2 of the sensor means 3.

The sensor means 3 comprise preferably a first temperature sensor and at least one second temperature sensor, which are mutually spaced along the longitudinal extension of the supporting body 2 in order to allow the measurement of the temperature in distinct points or to have the average of the temperatures measured by the various temperature sensors.

In order to allow the receiver 4 to receive the data relative to the temperature from the sensor means 3, the sensor means 3 are connected functionally to data transmission means.

Advantageously, such data transmission means, also, are supported by the supporting body 2.

Conveniently, the data transmission means are powered by means of a power supply device of the wireless type, which is intended to be arranged, during use, outside the hermetic container 10.

In this manner, the supporting body 2 does not require batteries for supplying power to the sensor means 3 and the data transmission means and this allows to insert it, and maintain it for extremely long times, entirely safely inside the food item 20.

According to a preferred embodiment, the power supply device of the wireless type is supported by the base body 5.

In this manner, the base body 5, by way of the power supply device of the wireless type, supplies power to the data transmission means supported by the supporting body 2, which receive the data related to the temperature of the food item 20 from the sensor means 3 and then transmit them to the base body 5 (which is arranged outside the hermetic container 10) in order to allow its viewing by means, for example, of a digital display 50.

The digital display 50 is connected, by means of a cable 6, to the base body 5.

The digital display 50 can be powered by means, for example, of batteries or by means of a connection to the electric mains.

The cable 6 that connects the digital display can comprise a first cable for transmitting data related to the temperature and a second cable for supplying power to the base body 5. Preferably, the base body 5 is ring-shaped and is intended, during use, to be fitted outside the hermetic container 10 and around the supporting body 2.

Of course, nothing prevents, as shown in Figure 4, the arrangement of the base body 5 that is adjacent to the outer surface of the hermetic container 10.

Preferably, the longitudinal axis of the base body 2 passes through the base body 5 at right angles.

According to a preferred embodiment, the thermometer 1 comprises at least one electronic board associated with the sensor means 3 and with a data transmission antenna.

Such electronic board is associated with the supporting body 2 and preferably is embedded therein.

In this regard, the supporting body 2 has an outer layer made of silicone material suitable for food use.

Preferably, the supporting body 2 is made of silicone material suitable for food use that embeds inside it the components that constitute the electronic board, the sensor means 3 and the data transmission means.

In this manner the food item can never come into contact with the electrical components.

As already noted, the supporting body 2 is intended to be inserted at least partially in a food item 20 that can be accommodated in a hermetic container 10 for cooking or for vacuum freezing.

By way of example, the hermetic container 10 can be constituted by a plastic pouch or by a vessel, for example made of glass.

According to a preferred embodiment, the power supply device of the wireless type is adapted to emit low-frequency waves to supply power to such sensor means in order to allow data communication from the sensor means 4 to the digital display 50.

The fact that the power supply device of the wireless type is adapted to emit low-frequency waves for supplying power to the sensor means in order to allow data communication from the sensor means 4 to the digital display 5 allows passage through liquids.

Liquids (typically the cooking water) are in fact present around the hermetic container 10.

As an example, the waves for supplying power to the sensor means in order to allow data communication from the sensor means 4 to the digital display 5 have a transmission frequency comprised between 123 and 134.2 kHz.

Moreover, it has been found that the thermometer according to the invention can be used effectively also in different fields of application, such as for example laboratory tests or in the medical field.

Use of a thermometer 1 according to the invention is as follows.

Before inserting the food item 20 to be cooked (or frozen) inside the container 10, one proceeds to insert the supporting body 2 inside the food item 20 so that its insertion end (at which the sensor means 3 are located) is arranged at the point of the food item on which one wishes to detect the temperature (typically the center or core of the food item 20).

At this point, the food item 20, with the supporting body 2 of the sensor means 3 inside it, is inserted within the hermetic container 10 and one proceeds, for example, to provide a vacuum inside the hermetic container 10.

The food item is then cooked (for example by placing the hermetic container 10 in hot water or in an oven, taking care to associate the base body 5 with the hermetic container 10).

The base body 5 supplies power, during cooking, to the sensor means 3 and receives from such means the data related to the temperature measured by the temperature sensor or sensors, such data being displayed by the digital display 50.

In this manner it is possible to monitor the temperature of the food item 20 while keeping the container 10 airtight.

All the characteristics of the invention indicated above as advantageous, convenient or the like may also be omitted or replaced by equivalents.

The invention thus conceived is susceptible of numerous modifications and variations, all of which are within the scope of the appended claims.

In practice it has been found that in all of its embodiments the invention has achieved fully its intended aim and objects.

Moreover, all the details may be replaced with other technically equivalent elements.

The disclosures in Italian Patent Application no. VR2014A0001 1 1 , from which this application claims priority, are incorporated herein by reference.

Where technical features mentioned in any claim are followed by reference numerals and/or signs, those reference numerals and/or signs have been included for the sole purpose of increasing the intelligibility of the claims and accordingly such reference numerals and/or signs do not have any limiting effect on the interpretation of each element identified by way of example by such reference numerals and/or signs.