101PEST MANAGEMENT STANDARDS: FOOD PROCESSING AND HANDLING FACILITIES. (PART 1)

Pests in food retail, processing, and distribution facilities are not just nuisances; they can lead to significant product loss, regulatory action, and a public relations nightmare. Every day we find ourselves under the gun to save time and money. Unfortunately, neglecting your pest and sanitation issues might not only spoil your products, but ruin your most valuable asset–your good name.

Proper pest management is a vital step in your ongoing food and beverage quality assurance process. An investment in professional pest management strategies yields several significant benefits, including effective food safety and quality assurance in the plant, reduced risk of product loss, and enhanced brand reputation and consumer satisfaction. Every dollar spent on quality pest prevention will, most likely, return additional Ringgit in reduced product loss. This fact quickly illustrates that managing pests is actually an investment and not an expenditure.

We will summarise this report/standard for better understanding. As we know, every country has its own standards to protect and preserve the professionalism in pest control industry. We are using NPMA 2016 Pest Management Standards for Food Processing and Handling Facilities (USA) as a guideline and point of reference and we hope it can help us in Malaysia to elevate our quality of service and eventually will prosper and grow the industry.

These standards are general guidance for the industry and require the use of
independent judgment when implementing a pest management plan in food
processing and handling facilities. As stated in previous editions, these standards
do not preempt local, state, or federal laws and regulations. Any service provided
must comply with relevant statutes and regulations governing pest management,
safety and food protection. In addition, food plants may have requirements more
stringent than these standards.

PERSONNEL

  • EMPLOYEE IDENTIFICATION.

Both food security and safety are the primary concern of the food facility. This section
sets forth minimum standards for company employee identification so that the facility
has a clear understanding of which personnel are from the pest management company
to ensure that facility food safety and security are maintained.
All employees entering grounds of a food facility shall display photo identification to include:

  • Employee name
  • Employee identification number (if issued by the company)
  • Company name
  • Company phone number
  • Employee photo
  • Date of issue
Proper PPE and company uniform is a must

The identification shall be displayed at all times while the employee is on site unless
personnel practices set by the facility prohibit such badges. In addition, facilities may
require other identification such as visitor badges or facility issued contractor badges and
the employee must comply at all times with the visitor/contractor policies of the facility.

  • UNIFORM

Uniforms are an important part of the facility safety and standards program. Criteria are
designed to comply with the majority of food facility requirements and CGMPs for uniforms.
All employees who perform service work in food facilities shall wear uniforms
meeting current facility requirements and at least the following criteria:

  • Slip resistant sole shoes (safety toe if required by facility)
  • Socks
  • Long pants
  • Shirt with sleeves (short or long) with company logo or company name
  • Uniform closures shall be in compliance with facility requirements
Proper Uniform

A clean set of clothing shall be used in facilities. If the uniform is exposed to contaminants
a clean set of clothing should be readily available. These contaminants include but are
not limited to chemical, microbiological, or allergens such as peanut products.
More stringent requirements may be in place for individual facilities in addition to these
standards and service personnel must comply with those standards. Some facilities may
require the use of designated shoes, shoe covers, smocks and/or lint brushes prior to
entering sensitive food processing areas

  • SECURITY AND CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS

Security is a major concern at all food facilities. This section is designed to ensure that
personnel in food facilities have had proper background checks and that they comply
with facility rules.
Any newly hired employee, including management, entering a food facility shall have a
criminal background check performed covering the previous five years prior to the date
of hire. The checks shall be part of the records of the company and shall include all states
or provinces in which the employee has lived and/or worked during the previous five years.
Resulting action as a result of the check will be at the discretion of company management.
Some food facilities may have specific requirements and companies must comply with
these requirements in addition to the above. Reminder: Companies must comply with
government regulations related to obtaining background checks.
Facilities may also have policies regarding when an employee is permitted onsite and
if they require a facility escort. Companies should understand and comply with all facility
policies and provide a written procedure to employees with a copy in the facility regarding:

  • Whether advanced notice must be given prior to arrival onsite.
  • Parking and vehicle use
  • Notice of new or substitute employees(technicians taking the place of previous technicians may have to be on a roster provided to facility)
  • Sign-in policies
  • Hours of operation when employees may have access
  • Visitor badge and/or contractor badge policies
  • Confidentiality of facility information
  • Escort policies
  • Restricted areas
  • Access to locked or restricted areas via an assigned key, card, fob, access code etc.

  • FACILITY PERSONNEL PRACTICES

It is imperative that all employees entering a food facility property understand and comply
with facility personnel practices. Besides being required by law, compliance is important as
part of food safety and also facility personnel morale.
Where applicable, all employees entering food facility property must have reviewed and
signed off on the standards of the facility in terms of personnel practices as outlined by
the facility. If a special set of standards is in place for facility contractors, then the employee
must comply with the standards. If any questions or conflicts arise, the employee must notify
their supervisor and the facility contact person.
A copy of the signed document shall be made available upon request.

  • VEHICLES

Facilities may have specific requirements for vehicles both in terms of operations
and in terms of security. This section sets the minimum for vehicle standards.
All vehicles used for service must:

  • Be clearly marked with company name
  • Be properly licensed
  • Have a current inspection if required by the state or province.
  • Have adequate insurance coverage for bodily injury, property damage and any other coverage that may be required by the facility
  • Be parked in properly assigned area
  • Have materials and equipment secured when unattended to restrict access
  • • In addition, the vehicle must include at least the following equipment:
    • First aid kit
    • Spill control to cover all products on the vehicle
    • Service kit (carrying kit for small quantities of products and equipment)
    • Change of clothing and/or coveralls
    • Other equipment required by facility

  • SAFETY

Safety is a vital part of any pest management program. The pest management
company and the food facility both must maintain safe working environments.
Beyond minimal regulatory requirements, policies must be in place to ensure
a safe work environment.
Each company must have documented safety training of all employees working
in food facilities. Safety training should include but is not limited to:

  1. Facility-specific safety training
  2. The company and facility specific respiratory protection program
  3. Pesticide safety including the proper understanding of all labels of products to be used in the food facility, proper use, and disposal of products and containers.
  4. Proper storage of products and equipment
  5. Emergency response procedures in case of spills
  6. Safety of other personnel near pest management activities such as facility employees and the general public
  7. Ladder use and transportation safety
  8. Use of fall prevention equipment and lifts
  9. Slip and fall prevention
  10. Lock out and tag out systems
  11. Shoe safety
  12. Personal protective equipment
  13. Definition of accident
  14. Accident and injury reporting requirements
  15. Restricted areas in facility
  16. Confined space entry requirements and their recognition
  17. Hazard communication
Training

To be continued in Part 2.

Note:

References: https://npmapestworld.org/default/assets/File/2016%20Pest%20Management%20Standards%20for%20Food%20Processing-Electronic.pdf

https://www.food-safety.com/articles/4217-keys-to-effective-pest-management-in-the-food-industry

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