For any company that handles food or beverage products – whether it’s a restaurant, food truck, producer, exporter, manufacturer, supermarket, caterer, or retail food store – ensuring food safety is becoming increasingly important. Ever-tightening policies and regulations leave no room for errors or shortcuts when it comes to complying with national and international food safety standards.

A pest control programme is a fundamental part of any Food Safety Management System (FSMS). Taking the appropriate measures for prevention, early detection and control of pests in food and food supplies will greatly increase the chance of a positive audit outcome.

Here are five ways to know whether your pest management program is ready for a successful audit.

You’re partnered with a professional

A pest control programme is essential to ensure a hygienic and disease-free environment and must be maintained by a certified pest control operator that is trained to apply pesticides in a safe, effective manner.

When choosing a pest control company to partner with, make sure that they employ qualified technicians who have been trained and registered with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) in terms of Act 36 of 1947 of the Agricultural Remedies Act. A well-established pest control company will also be registered with the South African Pest Control Association (SAPCA).

All your documentation is in order

During their assessment of food and beverage processing plants and other food handling businesses, food safety auditors will examine the facility for evidence of a formal, written pest management programme, as well as all subsequent documentation that goes with it.

Keeping updated and accurate records leave ensure that you leave a paper trail that makes it easier for auditors to ascertain the business’s commitment to effective pest management.
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Auditors will typically focus their attention on the following documentation:

Premises Site Maps: The location of all pest control measures identified on a plan or diagram of the site. All traps inside and outside the facility must be numbered and represented on the layout map, and should be updated with every change.

Service Reports: You must be able to provide a record of all treatments provided during the pest management provider’s visits, including the sources and causes of any pest infestations.

Material Safety Data Sheets: Auditors will ask to review detailed documentation of pesticide usage at the facility. The service records should include a list of approved pesticides, material safety data sheets (MSDS) for each product and detailed records on their use.

All the right measures are implemented correctly

It’s one thing to have your pest management activities documented, but does it match what is actually in place? Inspectors will not only check that traps are allocated in the positions documented, but also whether they have been installed correctly as well as the quality of the equipment.

Auditors will inspect the site to ascertain that:

    • All exterior doors have been fitted tightly with a max allowable gap of 5mm and self-closing devices
    • All walls are free of holes, crevices and cracks
    • The appropriate number of fly killers and rodent bait stations are located correctly and that all are clean, intact and operational

There is no evidence of pest activity

Due to public health risk, the presence of pests during an inspection may result in heavy penalties. By extension, any evidence of rodents, insects, rodents, birds is an indication of a pest problem.
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You use responsible treatments

When it comes to commercial pest control, the use of domestic (retail) pest control products is not allowed. Any treatment that is used must be approved by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (DAFF).

At The Specialists, our commercial pest control technicians can customise Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs to meet the needs and requirements of your food processing facility in line with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and other food safety management systems.

Get in touch and we will send one of our consultants to perform a free inspection of your property and propose a comprehensive pest control solution based on our findings.

References: Pest Control Documentation: A Secret Weapon for the Audit (Food Quality & Safety)