With the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations being put into place, your food service business must be ready to meet the strict new reporting and operating requirements. One of the areas you must focus on controlling is the amount of pests that enter your facility.
You can be one step ahead of the regulations by taking the following 3 actions:
Make the FSMA rules your top priority.
There is increased responsibility placed on food service facilities to keep their plants and grounds meticulously clean and in good repair. Staff responsible for plant maintenance should be briefed on the new requirements, and a system must be set in place to make it easy for them to report problems, correct issues in a timely manner, and document all relevant safety problems and the actions taken to correct them.
Management and administrators must understand the new rules in order to implement them, so it may be a good idea to pay for additional staff training and support as you develop your pest control and documentation strategy. Remember: you must develop a food safety plan and a copy of the plan must be kept at the facility at all times. Any pest control hazards must be documented, and those documents kept available for 2 years, so it's imperative that your management team ensures compliance to avoid fines or a plant shut down.
Scrutinize your plant and grounds.
A qualified building inspector must go over your plant with a fine-tooth comb for any areas where pests can gain entry. This doesn't mean merely finding and patching holes, but also beefing up barriers that are susceptible to being chewed by rats or mice. It also means having a pest control expert examine the grounds around your plant for nests and other evidence of pest populations that might enter your facility.
It's best to have no vegetation around your plant, but if you do have shrubs or other landscaping near the building, you should create a 6 to 8 inch buffer between plants and your plant to give insects less opportunity to find their way inside.. Lighting may also attract insects that enter the building, so use LED, halogen, or high-pressure sodium vapor lighting that emits light that is less tempting than the standard light bulb glow.
Find commercial pest control you can trust.
You must make a qualified pest control company like Emory Brantley & Sons Termite and Pest Control a key part of your team. They can help you comply with the new rules in a number of ways.
Pest control experts know the places to look for pest invasions, they know the signs of infestation, and they know the best and safest products to use for your specific operation. They can set sticky traps in vulnerable areas to discover which pests are getting in, and some even have pest-invasion apps to alert them when there is a breach so it can be efficiently controlled.
Your pest control professional will be a huge ally in the fight against contamination from insects, rodents, and birds. Competent commercial pest control companies should already know about the new FSMA rules and the record keeping requirements. If a pest control company seems clueless about the issue, find another company to join your team.