Risk Management – The Importance of Documentation

As the full impact of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and expanded GFSI audits is felt, food processing clients will be tasked with maintaining and providing extensive, up-to-date documentation for inspectors and auditors.

Documentation has always been an integral part of a food processing facility’s operating procedures but the requirements are becoming more exacting and the stakes higher for facilities that fall short in this area.

The Sprague Pest Experts know documentation is a key piece of the puzzle that provides proof that a pro-active pest management program is in place, that it has been acted upon and that the desired results have been achieved.

“Documentation is a good thing and allows pest management professionals and clients to review trends, identify risk areas within a facility and determine the proper course of action,” says Jeff Weier, technical director for Sprague Pest Solutions.

Weier says maintaining accurate records allow clients to verify and validate their pest management programs to auditors and inspectors. What is the difference between verification and validation?

“Verification is doing what you say you are going to do and having the documentation to back it up,” says Weier. “An example would be if a pest management program calls for bait stations at 25 ft. intervals and regular monitoring of those stations, the documentation would have to support that those actions took place as planned.”

The validation side of documentation focuses on explaining what risk(s) the facility is facing (i.e. a rodent or fly infestation), what corrective action was taken and did that action achieve the desired result (i.e. elimination of the threat).

Weier says the information contained in a plant’s documentation will make sure the pest program is properly addressing the hazards and risks presented by pests, as well as determine if enough was done to combat the threat.

The documentation for a pest management program must include the following trail of information for auditors and inspectors:

■ Show that a pest management program is in place to intervene and eliminate pest threats.

■ Describe what the pest issue was and what the response was to the issue.

■ Document the effectiveness of the response.

■ Document that the risk to the facility has been mitigated.

The Sprague Pest Experts know well-organized documentation provides clients, auditors or inspectors a clear view of where the pest management program stands at any time. Sprague’s document management protocols ensure the documentation is accurate, thorough and presented to inspectors and auditors in the order they need it.

Ask your Sprague Pest Solutions representative how they can help your facility get its documentation procedures ready for the next audit or inspection.

Food Processing & Manufacturing