What Pest Control Services are Important in my Food Facility?
In today’s fast-paced manufacturing world, food-handling and food-processing facilities are under more pressure than ever to meet demand. Increased demand can often mean warehousing more products & ingredients and more production lines running for longer periods of time. This leads to less down time to clean and sanitize and, of course, more opportunities for Quality Control issues.
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), is the name of the game in today’s manufacturing world. The addition of food products, or food-grade products, complicates pest control needs exponentially. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA) regulations, Safe Food Initiatives (SFI), and Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) policies also require constant management and attention – not to mention stringent audits from both customers and outside agencies.
Quality Assurance (QA) Managers must ask,
Why Do I Need a Pest Control Company in my Food Facility?
All food facilities are subject to food safety inspections on the local, state, and federal level. Non-compliant facilities may face fines or even be shut down.
Worst of all, a contamination issue can pose a major health threat to the public. Rats, mice, cockroaches, and flies pose significant threats in any food facility. The media has covered several cases over the years of instances where the public has become sickened from pest-born food contamination.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2011, signed into law by President Obama, enables the FDA to focus more on preventing food safety problems rather than reacting to problems after they occur.
|Ultimately, the overarching requirements of FSMA are that all food facilities have a practical, comprehensive, written pest control plan that focuses more on proactive inspection and reporting services, and less on reactive treatments that can potentially contaminate products.
FSMA is also designed to achieve higher rates of compliance with prevention and risk-based food safety standards. The goal of FSMA is to respond to, and contain, problems when they do occur.
Pest control must be part of the ongoing HACCP process, in which monitoring, inspection and reporting are integral parts of the program. Independent 3rd party organizations have established criteria and procedures that further define pest control’s role in a food facility. These organizations offer audit services to ensure compliance, bolster credibility, and increase food safety and product quality.
What’s It All Mean?
A comprehensive, compliant pest control plan is required in ALL food facilities – from restaurants to cosmetic bottling and packaging facilities to food processing operations.
It is also our job to keep thorough records documenting:
- Pest Trends (via monitoring or trapping)
- Proactive or Reactive Treatment Activity
- Materials and Methods Used (and subsequent results)
Hazard analysis starts with monitoring and data collection. With high quality data, pest activity, pressure trends and critical control points can be identified. With this knowledge, targeted preventative measures can be highly effective and ensure your food product’s safety.
- What they will do (in a written plan)
- Execute that plan, and
- Deliver information, feedback, and results.
Reporting and record keeping should be easy to understand – but thorough – in order to keep you compliant at any level of scrutiny. Choose a company that is familiar with FSMA guidelines, follows HACCP policies, and has food facility experience.
Can you prove you are doing everything needed to keep pests from contaminating food in your facility? Proper documentation and record keeping is key.
How will you feel the next time an inspector or auditor stops by your facility? If you have concerns, you may need to re-evaluate your current pest control company!
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