In few places is quality pest control as important as in food industry settings, since an infestation can jeopardize the product and also the reputation of a company. But pest control in these environments is a sensitive and complex activity, in which it is necessary to take precautions to maintain food safety. In this environment it’s necessary to protect from pest control in all places, for this reason we must take help from experts or any trusted agency like Sydney building inspections.
Seven steps for proper pest control in the food industry
In food processing environments, proper pest control is an indisputable necessity. And so is doing it in a way that treatments don’t threaten food safety. For this, the best way to control pests and, at the same time, respect the sensitive environmental needs of a food plant, it is necessary to apply the principles of Integrated Pest Control (CIP).
Integrated pest control programs are successful for one simple reason: they are approached on the basis that pest control is a process, not a one-time activity, and relying solely on chemical control, when there are many other tools available, is never the best solution.
By addressing underlying causes of pest infestations, such as access to food, water, and shelter, CIP can prevent infestation even before pesticide use is considered. An article published in Food Quality and Safety magazine explains the seven critical steps that make up the continuous cycle of the CIP system.
Step 1: The Inspection
The cornerstone of an effective CIP system is a program of regular inspections. In food processing plants, weekly or even more frequent inspections are common. These routine inspections should focus on the areas where pests are most likely to appear (merchandise reception areas, storage areas, etc.), and identify potential entry points, food and water sources, or refuge areas for pests. , which could cause problems
Step 2: Preventive Action
If regular inspections reveal vulnerabilities in the pest control program, action must be taken before they cause a real problem. One of the most effective prevention measures is exclusion that is, carrying out the necessary structural maintenance to close the possible entry points of the pests detected in the inspection.
By physically controlling pests, it is possible to reduce the need for chemical measures. Similarly, proper sanitation and cleaning will eliminate potential sources of food and water, reducing the insistence of the pest.
Step 3: Identification
Each pest has a different behavior, so by correctly identifying the problem species, it can be eliminated more efficiently and with less risk of damaging other organisms. Pest control professionals always start with the correct identification of the pest to be treated. So it is important to ensure that the contracted pest control provider is well trained in the identification and behavior of pests.
Step 4: Analysis
Once the pest is correctly identified, it is necessary to find out why there is a pest in the facility. Are there food debris, moisture buildup, or odors that could attract it? How does the pest find its way into the facility? Could incoming goods be infested? The answers to these types of questions will lead to the choice of the best control techniques.
Step 5: Selecting the Treatment
Integrated pest management emphasizes the use of non-chemical control methods, such as exclusion or capture, rather than chemical options. When other control methods have failed or are inappropriate for the situation, chemicals, in low volatile formulations, can be applied to specific areas and to treat a specific pest. In other words, it’s about using the right treatments in the right places and in the minimal applications necessary to successfully control the pest.
Often the proper treatment will consist of a combination of possibilities, from chemical treatments to baiting or trapping. However, by guiding the use of non-chemical options first as a principle, you can ensure that your company’s pest control program is effectively eliminating pests, with the least risk to food safety, non-target organisms.
In addition, in this way, most likely, higher scores will be achieved in the pest control section within the audits carried out in the company.
Step 6: Monitoring
Since pest control is an ongoing process, constant monitoring of the facility for pests and, if necessary, facility or operational changes can protect against infestations and help eliminate existing ones.
Since the pest control professional visits the facility every two weeks or weekly, the company’s own staff should be involved in the CIP program and be your daily eyes and ears. Employees should be aware of the sanitation and hygiene issues included in the program, and should report any signs of pest activity. In the presence of a real plague, the immediacy of reaction is crucial.
Step 7: Documentation
Food safety and quality audits are increasingly relevant to the sector. Since pest control can represent up to 20% of the total score, it is important that the CIP program is properly implemented when it is time to audit.
Up-to-date documentation on pest control is one of the first signals the auditor receives that the company is taking the issue seriously. Important documents include: program scope, pest control activity reports, service reports, corrective action reports, trap disposition maps, list of authorized biocides, biocide use reports and licenses of the applicators.
To ensure the maximum potential of the CIP program it is important to approach the relationship with the pest control professional as a partnership. Open communication and cooperation between the company, the staff and the biocide service provider bring clear benefits: fewer problems, safer products and better audit scores.