1. GET YOUR MASTER SANITATION SCHEDULE UPDATED AND FUNCTIONAL
Master Sanitation Schedules are fundamental components of sanitation programs. From a pest management perspective Master Sanitation Schedules eliminate pest food and harborage, and cleaning schedules disrupt pest developmental cycles. Sanitation schedules also address microbiological risks and general housekeeping.
Food processing facilities are continually remodeling, and changing equipment and processes. It can be a challenge to keep the Master Sanitation Schedule up to date and followed as it should. Chronic pest infestations can often be linked to sanitation deficiencies. Create and follow an updated ideal Master Sanitation Schedule. Be prepared to explain the potential risks if it cannot be followed.
2. BEFRIEND YOUR MAINTENANCE MANAGER
Some of the greatest pest management success stories hinge on the involvement of maintenance departments understanding the value of exclusion and harborage elimination. The back door to maintenance shops is often a concern due to being propped open. A few hours per week for a maintenance person with some simple materials fixing miscellaneous gaps, leaks and entries into harborages could have a much better return on investment than many pesticide applications.
Training and explanations of the process for identifying deficiencies and tracking corrective actions is very helpful. Involve maintenance departments in a positive spirit. Prioritize the corrective actions where maintenance needs to be involved.
3. BE SURE SANITATION ATTENTION IS BEING DIRECTED BOTH INDOORS AND OUTDOORS
Equipment “bone yards”, litter, vegetation, waste management and product spillage are often related to pest problems indoors. Building supplies and hardware for facility improvements that are staged outside need attention to prevent them from becoming the source of pests. Remember the roof! Product leaks onto the roof become attractive to many insect, rodent and bird pests. Consider methods that may be available for reducing the bird harborage and roosting opportunities on rooftops.
4. MAKE THE BUSINESS CASE FOR SANITATION
Sanitation can be an extremely interesting function in a food processing plant because it can involve every inch of a facility, plus operations and processes. Be proud of the unique diversity within the sanitation role for problem solving and capitalize. Consider different equipment and processes throughout the plant that need better sanitation attention. Make arguments like lower costs for planned downtime, maintenance and cleaning rather than emergency breakdowns with the lines full of product. Argue for some operator cleanup or disassembly that will be more efficient than sanitation staff doing that work, and creating delays in start-up.
5. BE BRAVE AND DO THE RIGHT THING
Food safety is deadly serious, and a company can face enormous losses from recalls or bad publicity associated with a product quality or safety issue. Sanitarians have the insight to recognize conditions and practices that cannot be tolerated, or products that may not be fit to be shipped. Be brave and do the right thing! It may not be popular to squelch production or somebody’s shortcut, but report potential food safety problems to higher management and do your part to protect the brand.
6. BE PROACTIVE AND THINK PREVENTION!
Try to solve pest problems as early as possible when solutions are easy and inexpensive. Be on the lookout for your key pests’ conducive conditions that can be corrected. Work with your pest control provider to identify these conditions.
Be prepared with plans for inevitable occurrences: A protocol for when a bird gets into the building or how to respond if a mouse is sighted, etc. Your service provider will respond as quickly but it can be good to get a jump start. Have a few materials and plans in place for your own immediate response.