As FSMA also continues to enforce new rules that address ongoing contamination concerns, food facilities need to be diligent in staying abreast of these updates to ensure they are following proper protocol. To help prevent foodborne illnesses spread by pests, it is essential to work with a pest management professional who can develop a customized IPM program. IPM programs are ideal methods of pest control in food facilities as facility managers and pest management professionals work together in the identification of pest hot spots, proper sanitation practices, and pest prevention procedures, and implementation of technology advancements, as necessary. IPM programs needs to be nurtured, checked on, and updated on a regular basis to ensure it meets the current pest concerns of the facility.
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Each food facility will not only have its own unique risks for attracting pests, but they will also have their own specific facility rules that pest management professionals must adhere to when servicing these sites. The use of IPM allows for pest management professionals to take site-specific circumstances into consideration and balance them against FSMA standards to develop a comprehensive program that will work to prevent pest problems and therefore food contamination. As pests are known to spread many foodborne illnesses, pest control is one the most important aspects of the FSMA sanitation requirements and one of the best programs to put in place to help prevent food contamination.
Working with a pest management professional is the only way to ensure food processing and handling facilities are acting in accordance with the sanitation standards set forth by FSMA. This is a critical component of food safety programs in facilities nationwide, and one that can be easily overlooked.
Dr. Fredericks is chief entomologist and vice president of technical and regulatory affairs for the National Pest Management Association. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org