There is one common goal among all processing plants with regards to pest control, and that is a zero tolerance for any and all pests to pace or soar inside processing facilities including their direct exposures to the product, contact surfaces and packaging materials.
Explore this issueOctober/November 2005
To successfully battle against pests, prudent food and beverage companies should develop a customized daily pest control management program that includes a contracted professional pest control company to assist quality assurance and safety managers in the war against pests.
A processing plant’s customized pest control management program can simply be a daily supplemental checklist involving both the interior and exterior areas of the facility that works in union with the hired pest control company’s written plan.
The fight against invading pests can be a processing plant’s “Sisyphean Boulder” if not kept in check. All food and beverage plants typically create an oasis for heat, moisture, light, shelter, various olfactory perceptions, and victual oddments every day of the year. Obviously each individual food plant’s inherent biota environment will have its own unique eclectic pests that it must battle against on a quotidian basis.
Nonetheless, various nocturnal, crepuscular and diurnal species of insects, ants, cockroaches, rodents and birds are the most ardent and persistent pests that processing plants must generally deal with. This is complicated by the fact that all of these vexatious pests perpetually assault processing plants by stealthy and crafty means from the expanse triads of land, air and parking lot water puddles.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that food and beverage contamination can occur anywhere or anytime along the farm-to-table continuum. Though various forms of enteric pathogens have many times been verified as being the culprit for contamination, studies have shown that the very same pathogens detected in edible products can also be found on common everyday pests.
It’s doubtful that the average person is cognizant that the colorful façades of feral birds, who are often enticed to feed in domesticated gardens, can be deadly vectors of the virulent E. coli O157:H7 pathogen. Or that the malicious negative phototropism cockroach, that assails poorly wrapped sugar cereal in the food pantry, can spread pathogenic microorganisms such as coliforms, salmonella, clostridium and streptococcus. Even the harmless looking, but onerous housefly and its many progeny are capable of wreaking havoc by bringing typhoid, dysentery and staphylococcal infections to exposed kitchen counters, utensils and foods themselves.
Contracted pest control companies may only visit a processing plant once a week or several times a month. So what happens if there’s a spontaneous ground or cicada attack in between inspections? By hiring a pest control company to show up several times a month accompanied with rote reports of their inspections will not ensure proper pest control is really being achieved.
Merely calling the pest control company to take care of a sudden infestation might only solve the problem in the interim while adding to one’s monthly pest bill. There is no guarantee that the same or similar problem will not crop up again. Call-backs have always been lucrative for pest control companies. Daily in-house preventive measures that are performed, documented and verified by plant personnel will help to ensure pest control order is being achieved on a daily basis, while contemporaneously precluding possible cross-contamination, possible down time and call-back monies.
Contracted pest control services should only be perceived by plant management as being an essential component of a plants overall pest control management program. By utilizing copies of the pest control company’s bait maps, the daily monitoring of both interior and exterior areas of the facility by a responsible plant employee can be accomplished and documented. By assigning daily pest inspections beginning from the plant’s outer demarcation property line to the plants interior buildings, can company’s detect early signs of invasion and quickly put into place remedial and preventive actions.