Food Processing Pest Control

Overview

Unique challenges and audit requirements leave no room for error in your commercial pest control program. Our team works with food processors throughout the Mid-Atlantic to customize eco-friendly pest control programs that fight pests. We know what third-party auditors want, and deliver superior pest control with the paper trail to prove it.

Keeping the Pests Out

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) emphasizes education and prevention, with strict adherence to health standards.

  •    Expert in audit pest control requirements: SQF, BRC, AIB, USDA, Silliker, Cook & Thurber, ASI
  •    24/7 pest monitoring, trend analysis, and ScanPro paperless records
  •    Clear MSDS, sanitation guidelines, and service reports
  •    Eco-friendly services that limit pest control materials
  •    Expertise in GMP and SQF requirements
  •    On-staff entomologists for tough or unusual pests
  •    24-hour emergency response
  •    Specialized fumigation services
  •    Regular internal QA/IPM inspection team audits
  •   In-service training available for you and your staff

Food Processing: Why It’s Best To Go Above & Beyond

In any business, pest control is best handled through diligence and the willingness to go above and beyond for your facility. This is true, ten-fold, for the food processing industry. Requirements and standards are upheld all year-long, even though a third-party auditor may only visit once a year. Don’t let the visit creep up on you and uphold superior facility maintenance and accurately defined lines of defense against pests.

Third-party auditing protocols for Food Processing facilities are strict, as they should be, due to the nature of the business. Something that makes this successful and easier? Accurate and diligent documentation from your pest control service provider.

Food Processing facilities are tricky when it comes to pest control, simply because the facilities are full of exactly what pests seek out: food. Proactive pest control, utilized throughout the year, is the best way to avoid potential difficulties.

Western’s advanced ScanPro handheld technology creates crystal-clear documentation for Food Processing facilities that so strongly benefit from this. Diligence and organization are key when it comes to kicking pests, from mice to ants, out of your facility.

Food Processing Pest Control: Keeping Pests Out

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has enacted rules under the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that will change the food industry significantly in 2014:

Are You Prepared?

FSMA was signed into law in January 2011 by President Obama, and is the most sweeping reform of food safety laws our country has seen in over 70 years. Created by the FDA, the act enables the administration to better protect public health by strengthening the food safety system and is designed to prevent illness outbreaks.

When the weather warms and pests emerge, food processing facilities need to takes steps to help keep infestations at bay. The first step should be eliminating factors that attract pests in the first place.

What pests should my business be wary of when it comes to food safety measures?

When it comes to reducing pest pressures for your business, your number one goal should be identifying and remediating risk factors. Some pests are known to carry human pathogens, and, if not controlled, can cause the contamination of covered produce, food contact surfaces or food-packing materials.

Effective measures must be taken to exclude pests from the all areas, both inside and outside of the facility, to protect against the contamination of food and to be in compliance with governmental regulations.

Make sure to keep an eye out for:

  • Ants: Once you see a few ants, you may see many more. Since most ants are attracted to food, especially sweets, make sure to eliminate their food and water source by keeping all food items properly sealed.
  • Flies: Flies transport a surprising number of pathogens. There’s simply no room for them in your business. Maintain trash areas, seal all possible entry points, and clean up spills quickly. Be sure employees are making a habit of closing doors. Leaving these propped open is a crucial mistake many businesses make.
  • Rodents: Rodent populations increase over spring, and they are quite skilled at gaining entry into businesses. Make sure to secure food sources in tightly sealed containers and inspect for droppings and damaged food goods.
  • Birds: Birds can contaminate food and food products, endanger employee and customer health with the illnesses they carry, and lead to failed audits. Make sure to prevent their access, and block areas where birds perch and nest.
  • Roaches: The greatest damage roaches can cause is not only disease risk and failed health inspections, but also contaminated stock, lost revenues, and damage to your reputation. Keep all areas dry, clutter-free, and seal all cracks and crevices of your building to prevent these pests.

Where should I look?

All areas of a food processing facility should be pest-free

When you manufacture food, pest risk emerges on many fronts. If inspection protocols have fallen off, get back on track. Make sure to spot inspect every incoming shipment, every time.

Western Spotlight: Jerry Geraci

Jerry Geraci, Western’s Mountainside, NJ Branch Manager, notes simple mistakes that can easily provide entry for both animals and insects. “It’s as simple as leaving their top windows open and letting night-insects in. This happens and you can fail your inspection.”

Common mistakes that have the potential to exacerbate pest issues include:

  • Leaving doors open during breaks. This allows easy access for what would be a haven to any pest: your food processing facility.
  • Windows left open overnight. Any number of flying insects can make their way indoors if windows are not properly screened and closed.
  • Proper sanitation. Simply taking out the trash on a regular basis and keeping the trash receptacle a safe distance from your building will discourage pests from taking up residence.

Food Safety and Pest Prevention

Food manufacturers are subject to many of the same regional infestations as homeowners. However, by virtue of the food production industry, some specific challenges arise when it comes to persistent invading pests. Food manufacturing pests come in all shapes and sizes, and can spell big problems when it comes to meeting the high standards set by regulatory bodies. Aside from site maintenance basics – keeping a clean facility; storing waste properly; sealing holes, gaps, and other entry points; plus inspecting all incoming shipments – there are nuances to pest control that can help keep your business pest-free.

Prime Invader #1: Rodents

Mice, rats, and other rodents are responsible for creating huge quantities of damaged or adulterated products each year. Not only do rodents directly consume stored products, but more importantly they damage foods and packaging by gnawing and puncturing, plus contaminate the products with feces and other waste products. Rodents enter food storage and manufacturing plants in shipments or through holes and gaps that enable them to enter the structure. Therefore, the most important aspects of an IPM program for dealing with rodent infestations is inspection, sanitation and exclusion. Western service technicians are trained and experienced in observing the signs of rodent activity and pointing out to the facility maintenance managers how the rodents are getting into the structure. Western technicians are also able to explain and set up a rodent trapping or rodenticide baiting plan that will help keep the plant or warehouse free of rodent pressures.

Prime Invader #2: Stored Product Pests

If you’re not attentive, you may be transporting pests with your product and providing attractive harborage all at once – two problems your business definitely wants to avoid. These pests mine their way into dried foods packaged in wax, cardboard, and other materials. They also infest the pallets on which these food products are stored, which can allow problems to quickly spiral out of control. The more important and damaging stored product pests include weevils, beetles, moths, meal worms, and more.

Prime Invader #3: German Cockroaches

While cardboard is a standard packaging material for food manufacturers, it’s also an attractive food source for German cockroaches. The added attraction of starch, sugars, grease, and meats may enable these pests to produce large populations. Since many species of cockroaches are small and very secretive, they hide throughout your facility, making them difficult to eradicate.

How Pests Invade

Much as your customers will look right to you if pests are transported along with your merchandise, pests may arrive with warehouse materials including the aforementioned pallets and cardboard. This makes proper inspection at every phase of the supply chain essential. Smart food manufacturers will include inspection for pests with other audits of incoming supplies to catch issues before they become major business problems. What does this mean to your business? Proper pest control requires constant vigilance and adherence to all sanitation standards designed to decrease infestations.

Favorite Hiding Spots

Beyond pallets, food processing and manufacturing facilities are rife with additional pest-attracting hotspots. Out-of-service equipment that is not properly sanitized is a veritable buffet for pest scavengers, along with areas containing moist heat, spots behind sinks, and drains that have not been properly flushed.

How to Handle Pest Problems

Food manufacturing facilities require stringent standards of sanitation and protocols for pesticide use to meet state and federal regulatory guidelines. As part of our Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach, Western Pest Services works not just to eliminate pest infestations that can render food products unusable or contaminated, but will always do so in a safe, effective, and environmentally responsible manner. IPM is a three-pronged approach that centers on education, proactive prevention, and environmentally responsible treatment that employs carefully selected pest control materials with the least environmental impact. For businesses like food manufacturing, hospitals, and others that require special vigilance, extra precautions are taken to ensure that your pest management solutions safeguard your inventory and your reputation. This might mean an emphasis on baiting, use of insect pheromone traps other specific materials, and smart planning to reduce infestations in the safest possible manner.

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