Stopping Pest Activity At The Door – Facility Executive Magazine

By Patricia Hottel, BCE

In the fight against food facility pests, prevention is the best tool. Excluding pests must be the focus of any food facilities prevention plan. Pests can enter a facility in one of three ways: through openings in the structure from the property exterior or sewer systems, by employees bringing in pests like cockroaches and bed bugs on personal belongings, and via incoming shipments.

This article will focus on combatting the third challenge by conducting a proper inspection of incoming goods to prevent pest introductions. In a recent survey of food facilities, 9% of respondents indicated that they found rodents on incoming shipments. The surveys results highlight the frequency at which pests may be introduced.

Elements needed in establishing an inspection of incoming goods program.

Ranking the Risk Factors

All shipments will not be the same when it comes to the potential for pest infestation. Recognizing which shipments have the highest potential for pest infestation can help staff focus their inspection time where needed.

The following considerations should be made when apportioning time for detailed inspections upon receiving shipments of incoming products:

What to Do If Pest Activity is Found

When pest activity is found, all unloading should cease. Any off-loaded products must be retrieved. A policy must be in place for staff regarding alerting management for further action.

For example, one pregnant mouse arriving on a pallet can produce an average of six pups every three weeks. Populations can build quickly and may go undetected in pallet stacks until the problem has spread to multiple areas. This can result in high costs of added pest control services, labor for cleaning, product losses due to contamination, and potential regulatory action. Utilize a thorough inspection of incoming goods program to help avoid these series of events.

Hottel is a technical director with more than 35 years of experience at McCloud Services, a pest management company headquartered in South Elgin, IL. She is a board certified entomologist and a member of the National Pest Management Associations Commercial and Fumigation Committees. Hottel is also a former member of the board of directors of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the Illinois Pest Control Association (IPCA). She has served on the board of directors for the professional pest management fraternity, Pi Chi Omega, is a past chair of NPMAs exam review board, and the NPMA Technical Committee. Hottel holds a bachelors degree in entomology from the University of Georgia and a masters degree in instructional technology from the University of Central Missouri.

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Stopping Pest Activity At The Door - Facility Executive Magazine

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