The Takeaway: Just when you think you’ve “seen it all,” a story like this comes along. While not a typical example of pests in a food plant, it illustrates the need to be prepared for any possibility. What if an auditor had discovered the mice first? It wouldn’t have mattered that they were feeder mice instead of a sign of an infestation. It would have led to a failed audit and a real headache for the plant.
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Explore This IssueFebruary/March 2020
McCoy is director of quality and technical training for Wil-Kil Pest Control in Menomonee Falls, Wisc. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Wil-Kil is a member of Copesan Services, a national network of pest management professionals specializing in commercial pest control and food safety services.
A Pest’s Worst Nightmare: A Clean Facility
Sanitation is pest management, plain and simple. If your facility has strong cleaning and sanitation protocols in place, you have taken a significant step toward mitigating the chances of a pest infestation.
Why do pests want to gain access to food processing, storage, and distribution facilities? It’s not because they’re interested in applying for a job—it’s because there’s food, water, and shelter inside.
Good cleaning and sanitation protocols take care of spills and food waste in drains, on floors, on food preparation countertops, and under and inside processing equipment. And, when food waste and spills are eliminated, so is the attraction for pests.
Investing in cleaning and sanitation practices pays for itself. When an auditor makes a visit to your facility, they’ll note conducive conditions related to sanitation practices and if they aren’t up to speed, you’ll know.
Well-designed cleaning and sanitation programs not only lessen a rodent’s or cockroach’s interest in your facility, they also instill confidence in your workforce. It tells them they work for a company that cares about producing a world-class product that is safe for consumers.
What does a good cleaning and sanitation program entail and where should it be applied? The following is a list of areas inside and outside your facility that should be regularly monitored and included on any master cleaning schedule:
- Exterior areas—garbage disposal areas, drainage, weed control, and pest breeding and harborage areas.
- Building exteriors—pest-proofing/exclusion and lighting.
- Building interior—walls, floors, ceilings, floor drains, plumbing, ventilation, and lighting.
- Food storage:
- Packaged and dry food storage—proper storage practices and good sanitation.
- Damaged goods storage—segregation, repackaging, and good sanitation.
- Returned goods.
- Refrigerated areas—condensation and cleaning.
- Food preparation areas—access to enclosed areas, under equipment, and surface areas.
- Dishwashing areas.
- Garbage and recycling areas—proper containers and containers covered.
- Toilet and locker rooms—lockers regularly cleaned and emptied.
- Lunch/break room—cleaned and trash taken out regularly.
- Vending machines—accessible for cleaning.
- Utility areas—accessible for cleaning and no pest-conducive conditions.
- Office areas—trash removed regularly and no food stored in desks.
Source: Portions of this information are adapted from Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations