Bringing in a harvest of pests

What does the fall harvest have to do with pest management, you ask? There is plenty pests can do to upset the apple cart in this era of increased food safety emphasis. Awareness of the threats is the first step to ensuring the safe harvesting, transportation, processing, storage and delivery of food from farm to table.

The Food Safety Modernization Act gave the FDA expanded enforcement and recall capabilities; the agency is drawing a line in the sand that is serious about protecting consumers from food-borne illnesses. Add to the mix new GFSI and BRC audit standards, and you have a complex web for food processors, transportation and storage facilities to navigate.

A large part of the food protection umbrella involves protecting food processing, storage and transportation facilities from a variety of invasive pests that threaten to “spoil the lot” when it comes to food safety.

Pests including rodents, birds, flies and stored product pests (i.e. beetles, weevils, etc.) not only spoil raw ingredients by eating and defecating in them, but they are carriers of food-borne bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella.

Harvest season is prime time for pests to move from the field into food processing facilities. Oftentimes, they hitch a ride indoors in the food commodity itself. The Sprague Pest Experts have identified this “Trojan horse” approach by pests to be one of the primary causes of pest infestations inside food industry facilities.

For example, rodents easily maneuver their way into a load of seed or grain destined for a food processing facility. They will climb into the open bed of a truck as it is being loaded or is parked overnight waiting to be unloaded. As they enjoy the ride to the facility – with ample snacking along the way – they can count on easy access once the shipment is delivered.

Open bed trucks are also a target for pest birds that leave behind their disease-laden droppings as they are parked during the loading and unloading process.

The Sprague Pest Expert’s innovative approaches to pest management in food facilities are based upon the latest integrated pest management practices, and are designed to help you pass your audits and protect the supply of nutritious and delicious food across the region and nation.