Audit. It’s not a word many like to hear, but audits are necessary to maintain food safety within any food processing business. When audit is paired with pests, however, the association is even more unfavorable.
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Explore this issueApril/May 2010
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Pests can carry and transmit disease-causing organisms, including E.coli, Salmonella, and Shigella, threatening food safety and product integrity. Just one pest can have an impact on your business, but an infestation can cripple your facility’s reputation and lead to:
- damage to raw materials and inventory;
- product loss;
- violation of health regulations;
- transmission of harmful diseases and food poisoning; and
- plant closure.
For these reasons, food safety auditors take pest control seriously, with pest management accounting for up to 20% of some third-party audit scores. Facilities seeking to earn or maintain certification should understand how pest management fits into keeping the food supply safe. Unfortunately, facilities often lose points on their audits for infractions that could have been avoided with a little preparation. The good news is that with the right preparation, your organization will be ready for the pest management portion of your next third-party audit.
Understand the Audit Process
As you may know, there are multiple audit standards. The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) framework, launched in Europe in May 2000, has recently taken on added importance. In 2008, Wal-Mart became the first nationwide U.S. grocer to adopt GFSI standards and mandated that its suppliers adhere to them.
GFSI does not undertake any accreditation or certification activities. However, the GFSI guidance document contains commonly agreed-upon criteria for food standards against which any food or farm assurance standard can be benchmarked.
In short, an organization complies with GFSI specification in the United States if it adheres to one of four standards: