Pest management without pest control

Rentokil Initial Pty Ltd
Wednesday, 04 August, 2010

Many would say this is an ‘oxymoron’ because how can you manage pests without pest control? In today’s manufacturing world, particularly in the food processing industry, the management of pests has become a high priority. Consumers will not tolerate poor products let alone food that has an elusive insect in it, so how does this affect pest management for food manufacturers?

Manufacturers are increasingly under pressure to reduce, if not eliminate, any risk of contamination to their product through the production cycle from the time the raw product leaves the farm to the time the consumer opens the finished goods. With pest management this results in the pest manager being restricted as to what he/she can use, how it can be used and where it can be used. In many instances this means that they cannot use any type of pesticide (chemical) substance, so how do we ‘control’? The most important tool nowadays is using eyesight and a torch to locate the problem first before it locates you.

In recent years the buzz has been integrated pest management or IPM. In simple terms this means the manufacturer and the pest manager work hand in hand to provide a proactive approach to managing pests and reducing the use of chemicals rather than a reactive approach of elimination with the obvious intention of providing a 100% pest-free environment. This cannot be achieved at all times as it requires highly transparent communication between both parties and a full commitment to the job at hand. Such things as building fabrication improvements, hygiene, housekeeping, accessibility and strategic monitoring devices are essential for it all to work. Many times I have seen a new food manufacturing site built and you can immediately see that there has been no consideration to preventing pest infiltration such as birds, flies and rodents; and hence, not too long after occupation, expensive proofing programs have had to be installed.

Pests such as rodents and cockroaches don’t discriminate between old and new. If the conditions are right for them and the property is not 100% pest proof they’ll take up residence, no matter how modern the building and machinery. In other words, manufacturers are never 100% proof if the local environment and conditions are allowed to become favourable to the pest(s).

Extensive detailed pest management reporting is a must in the modern world in order to continually improve pest management. The reporting must detail all areas of a site both internal and externally; insect and rodent monitors and detectors must be indicated along with specific departments, actions and recommendations and activity trend analysis. Detailed active site plans indicating the location and activity levels of monitors, detectors, fly catch units etc is required. The reporting system must be fully transparent and easily navigated by the manufacturer and auditors to ensure compliance to current stringent requirements.

Rentokil’s PestNet Online service is a fully active, transparent and detailed web-based reporting system that meets current requirements. Rentokil with its technical background and support is continually updating the system to meet demands. The system provides immediate reports after a service has been completed so it can be reviewed instantly between the pest manager and the client and any recommended actions required to maintain a pest-free environment can be instigated immediately avoiding possible future problems. The system allows users access 24/7 - giving clients freedom from the fear of damage that pests can cause.

A professional proactive pest management program, coupled with detailed reporting procedures and good manufacturing processes, will allow food manufacturers to get ever closer to that elusive 100% pest-free environment.

By Richard Doyle

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