Food processing and manufacturing facilities are increasingly being held responsible for proactive prevention of contaminated products. New standards and regulations mean managers have to be more stringent than ever when it comes to food safety. A proactive food safety strategy is more than just a smart move—it is a necessity, especially with today’s global supply chain and the necessity for many partners involved in food production. There are very few fallbacks when it comes to sending tarnished food out the door.
All types of pests—including rodents, insects, or birds—can spread harmful pathogens and compromise the safety of your products. And all it takes is one point of contact (or a single dropping) from these pests to upset an entire batch of your otherwise pristine products. Across the globe, pests are an ever-present threat to health and safety. No region or country is exempt, and an infestation could happen to any business at any time.
That’s why three things are more important now than ever: monitoring, inspection, and documentation. These are the measures that, when implemented properly, can help protect your facility from pests—and, ultimately, foodborne illness, as well as loss in profit due to ruined products or reputation. Monitoring will assist in helping spot pest issues early, which means you stay audit ready and get more protection for your budget and bottom line. Inspection and documentation are equally as crucial. A supply chain with exceptional documentation will help you pinpoint exactly where in the chain pest issues originated, allowing you to solve the root issue and quickly resolve challenges that arise.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these measures and how you can make them functional parts of your overall pest management plan.
Employees as Monitors
There’s no better way to spot pests than to have multiple sets of eyes trained to look for them at all times. It’s a good idea to have regularly scheduled training sessions for employees and actively promote participation from everyone.
Getting the word out doesn’t have to be an elaborate process—it can be something as simple as a poster that features photos of the most common pests and the indicators they typically leave in their wake. When it comes to employee education, there isn’t exactly a one-size-fits-all solution. Pest threats will differ for every company, and your educational materials should reflect your facility’s unique challenges.
Another key aspect of employee education and training is assigning personal responsibility. Make it abundantly clear that each individual employee plays a large role in keeping the facility pest-free and ensure that they feel empowered to speak up when they see a potential threat. There also needs to be a site pest log where associates can record a sighting. Make sure everyone is aware of how to access this log and is familiar with the approved methods for documenting sightings. Identifying high-risk sectors of the building and ensuring that all sanitation practices are being sufficiently performed is crucial for record-keeping purposes.
And there’s nothing wrong with out- sourcing this kind of employee training, either. Many pest management companies will perform this service at no charge as part of an ongoing relationship with your business, so be sure to utilize their expertise to increase engagement with pest prevention tactics across the board.
Using Monitoring Devices
While employee training is essential, it’s not the only monitoring that should take place. There are several devices you can use to help with this process and most operate 24/7 as well. Making use of these monitoring devices is a great way to help supplement your “eyes on the ground” already operating throughout the facility.