Basic pest control in the food processing plant is an essential prerequisite food safety program. Unfortunately, many processors have never established a systematic, written pest control program. This fact sheet outlines the pests of concern and steps that the small processor can take to start a pest control program.
All meat and poultry processing facilities, regardless of size, must have a written Sanitation program.GMPs (Good Manufacturing Practices) specified in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) clearly specify that pests cannot be present
in the food, drug-processing environment
The pest control program is a stand-alone program and is also a part of the plant’s food safety system. Most small food plants must decide whether to maintain a pest control program themselves or contract the program to a pest control company. There are positive and negative aspects of each approach.
Many small processing facilities hire a pest control company because the processor lacks the personnel and expertise to run such a program. Of course, a pest control contractor should be reputable and have proper training and experience. A pest control contractor must provide records and reports to the processor verifying that the program is effective and operating successfully. This verification is usually done through visual inspection for pests and/or evidence of pests in the plant or product. The processor must maintain these records with the plant’s hazard analysis records to prove that the contracted pest control program is effective. The verification records should include evidence of contractor training and certification to apply pesticides in a food-manufacturing environment, and evidence that the pesticides are approved for such use.
Items included in a pest control program
1. Pest control procedures — The activities performed to control each type of pest. The written procedures should be detailed and include frequency of action.
2. Recordkeeping — The documentation of each performed activity. These records must be accurate, up-to-date, and include inspection for evidence of pests in each plant area.
3. Responsible individuals — The person(s) who are charged with performing pest control procedures and recordkeeping. Also, the supervisor responsible for signing off on reviewed records.
4. Deviation — Evidence of a pest problem is a subjective determination that requires expertise. For example, periodically finding a cockroach under a trashcan may be acceptable, but finding many cockroaches would be a deviation. A deviation has occurred when an allowable limit has been exceeded.
5. Corrective measures — These are written action steps in the plan that will be performed if there is a deviation from the pest control program. Often, they may include increasing control procedures, retraining of employees, cleaning up the area, etc.
6. Verification and validation — Written scientific evidence that the procedures are effective at controlling pests. This material is often available from chemical, trap, and pest control equipment makers. Also, verification is documentation of visual inspection for evidence of pests.
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