Pest management is a critical component of food safety programs worldwide. Production facilities, as well as food retail facilities and restaurants, are all at risk for attracting such pests as rodents, cockroaches, ants and birds, due in large part to the very nature of their business. These facilities provide the ideal conditions many pests need to thrive: food, water and shelter.
Every segment of the food industry nowadays is required to have an effective and integrated pest control management program in place. HACCP standards require this, because pest control is considered to be a critical control point. Other standards, such as those accredited by GFSI, go further in their management and auditing requirements.
According to Kammerling, a well-designed integrated pest management program (IPM) includes the following essential elements:
- Monitoring: combining electronic tracking with regular visual checks of all trap stations.
- Identification: knowing the habits and biology of pests (breeding cycles, what they prefer as a food source, etc.).
- Inspection & Facility Maintenance: Conducting regularly scheduled and thorough inspections. Also making sure there are no cracks in building walls or around man-doors where pests can enter. Making sure doors close quickly and stay closed.
- Sanitation: Maintaining a clean environment that makes it difficult for pests to thrive (no garbage, food residues, minimal odors, etc).
- Documentation: Maintaining accurate and detailed service records (e.g., rodent activity logs, insect light traps, glue boards, inspection reports, etc.) to assist in continuous improvement of the overall program.
- Communication: Keeping lines of communication open between service technicians and facility management so potential problems can be anticipated and remedied as they arise.