When it comes to keeping a positive bottom line and rock-solid reputation for your food products, it is important to keep your facility in tip-top shape. Every food processing facility must be audit ready, down to the last detail, at all times.
One of the keys to readiness is pest management. Without an effective pest management program in place, insects and rodents can infiltrate your facility, which can lead to food contamination, product recalls, or severe health threats. Food manufacturers should have an expectation that pests are always lurking due to the presence of food in their operations. For these businesses, the dangers of pest infestation occur at several points in the supply chain, including when raw ingredients arrive, inside machinery, in the warehouse or at the customer’s warehouse.
Solutions Needed for Businesses
The negative consequences of pest infestation is exacerbated for food manufacturing and processing operations because they are typically subject to stringent audits by customers and corporate head offices, as well as independent industry auditing bodies. When auditing is required, up-to-date and easily accessible records are essential in demonstrating that pest control is managed effectively. This is one reason many businesses subject to auditing requirements choose to collaborate with a professional pest control supplier (such as Entech Philippines), who can devote full attention to managing and documenting a proactive plan to control pests, freeing the organization to focus on its core activities.
The application of practical and scientific experience to provide a tailored solution for a particular environment is the first step in proactively minimizing the risk of pest infestation and protecting a food manufacturing business. The best approach is to have an integrated pest management (IPM) program as part of the organization’s food safety measures.
What is Integrated Pest Management?
Integrated Pest Management or IPM, as it is often referred to, is a system of managing pests, which is designed to be sustainable. IPM involves using the best combination of cultural, biological and chemical measures for particular circumstances, including plant biotechnology as appropriate. This provides the most cost effective, environmentally sound and socially acceptable method of managing diseases, insects, and other pests.
In short, IPM is a pest control approach that minimizes reliance on harmful chemicals and pesticides. Instead of just pure eradication, it expands on all available preventative and curative measures.
4-Step Pest Control Action Plan for Food Production Facilities
- Inspect the physical plant both inside and outside for ways in which pests might enter the building, as well as for the food, water and harborage that may attract pests and allow them access into the facility. While it is easy to neglect corners when cleaning, they are a common problem area for pests for just that reason.
- Identify any pests that exist and developing a specific plan to eliminate them using mechanical or bait traps, pesticides or other appropriate means. It is important to develop a system for tracking type, frequency and number of pests caught in each identified area of the facility.
- Enlist the support of company management as well as production workers to implement the program, including training sanitation staff to thoroughly clean problem areas according to a specific sanitation schedule.
- Monitor the program and record results, regularly. In this way, an organization can prove success and/or adjust the program if, when and where necessary. Some qualified pest control partners offer online tools for monitoring and tracking pest activity, control measures and trends.
To summarize, you must work with your pest management professional to establish a custom integrated pest management program, and to ultimately ensure that pests don’t plague your facility. A proactive approach to pest management, IPM, places a heavy emphasis on facility maintenance and sanitation, using chemical treatments only as a last resort. Additional components of IPM programs at food manufacturing plants include sanitary design, documentation, ongoing monitoring, and staff training.
While no two facilities are ever alike, pests tend to target certain areas. Take a look around your facility and find these “hot spots,” and then work with your pest management provider to develop a plan that will keep your facility secure.
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