Clark Commercial Blog March 2022
Many elements go into designing, implementing and maintaining an effective pest management program in food processing or distribution facilities. There is no one single element that determines the success or failure of a program – it’s truly a “team” effort to keep these vital facilities pest-free.
The pest management programs Clark Pest Control deploys are based on integrated pest management (IPM) principles. These principles focus heavily on solving a facility’s pest problems, not with more bait stations or pesticide applications, but through careful use of data and trend reports, and correcting structural, cultural and sanitation issues.
When do companies hire a pest control company, the first question that usually comes up is ‘How many rodent devices are you going to use? Rather than discussing traps or bait stations numbers, plant or QA managers should request a risk assessment be completed.
Do I Need A Risk Assessment?
The word risk makes food processing professionals uneasy but having a risk assessment completed at your facility is the first step in developing a true IPM program. When done on a regular basis, a risk assessment will contribute to the continuous improvement a plant’s existing pest management programs.
Defined as “the scientific evaluation of known or potential adverse health effects resulting from human exposure to foodborne hazards" a risk assessment is a task meant to evaluate and assess a facility’s IPM program.
A true risk assessment is NOT just an inventory of control and monitoring devices within a facility or a means to report how many rodents or insects were caught or killed in that time.
Risk assessments will help answer the following questions:
- Why was the pest present?
- Why did the pest issue occur?
- What was the root cause of the problem?
The information provided in a risk assessment can be used to help adjust and improve existing pest programs.
Risk assessments should be conducted by your pest management service provider with input from plant management since both share the responsibility to create and maintain a pest-free environment and safeguard the food products that are produced or stored at the facility.
Elements of a risk assessment can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Audit preparation
- Control measures
- Corrective actions
Another benefit of risk assessments is their appeal to auditors and inspectors. The U.S. FDA’s FSMA requirements encourage food processors take a proactive, preventive approach to pest management. Part of the is having a science-based risk assessment performed. It should be noted that GFSI certifiers and auditors also require that risk assessments be performed annually and anytime there’s a change made in a facility’s pest management program.
The Value of Trend Analysis
One of the most beneficial tools used to help pest professionals evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a pest management program is trend analysis.
Trend analysis is the collection of information to identify patterns to predict a future event and help prevent it. It will verify the success of ongoing pest programs, while the IPM risk assessments will validate it. However, without accurate data, the trend analysis is useless.
This data is gathered from a variety of sources including remote sensing devices, cameras, traditional devices, pest sighting logs and feedback from clients. The compiled data is used to identify where, when and how pests have or could become a problem. Knowing when ants are likely to seek new food sources indoors or where a mouse was captured, is valuable information to design or adjust pest control programs.
When performing trend analysis, it is important to keep the following in mind:
- Is the data being collected accurately and on a consistent basis?
- It the data being interpreted and used correctly to improve or validate the performance of a pest management program?
- Does the analysis of the data help identify the root-cause for the pest occurrence?
- Is the data noting conductive conditions and producing a preventive corrective action/plan?
Clark Pest Control – The Choice for Commercial Properties
If your commercial property demands innovative pest management solutions and a pest management partner that understands your business, give Clark Pest Control a call at (800) 936-3339.
The Clark Commitment to Safety
Clark Pest Control is committed to safeguarding your business or commercial property from pests during these challenging times. Our service technicians use such personal protective equipment as gloves, masks, and respirators, they practice social distancing, they call ahead to notify before a service, and they adhere strictly to all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines when servicing inside or outside your home.