Contract Pest Control Programs Keep the Bugs Away
In addition to pest control, programs provide valuable third-party record-keeping.
By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief | 09/03/2008
“If non-chemical measures and the use of products consistent with the national list are not effective, then a material not found on the list may be used, provided measures are taken to prevent contact between the organic product and the material applied,” says Jay Bruesch of Plunkett’s Pest Control, a Fridley, Minn.-based partner of Copesan Services. “This cannot be seen as a ‘loophole’ permitting indiscriminate use of synthetic pesticides, however. Non-chemical strategies and National List materials must be considered first and shown to be inadequate.”
However, it’s not just the National Organic Program that made Endangered Species look for organic pest control. “It speaks to our core values. We are committed to not harming the environment. But we also are committed to producing the highest quality of chocolate bars. That leaves no room for pests,” Phillips says.
Orkin taught him “to be proactive, not reactive, to keeping bugs out and keeping everything so clean that it would not attract them.” That means making sure all doors close tightly, that cracks and crevices get sealed promptly, that all points of access are monitored to keep bugs out.
Oregon Tilth inspects the plant for organic certification and goes over Endangered Species’ books on pest control, looking for the presence of both bugs and forbidden chemicals. Bookkeeping is becoming an important part of the equation. State and county boards of health make surprise visits, and AIB International (formerly the American Institute of Baking) will inspect for the first time this month. “We’re part of Orkin’s Gold Medal program, so we know the records are carefully maintained,” says Phillips.
Validation also is important to Richter. “The [Orkin] Gold Medal program provides a lot of standardized reporting, more than found in a normal program, but I can always ask for even more specific items,” she says.
“Actually, a few years ago a customer did suspect there were insect parts in ingredients we shipped them,” she continues. “We told them it couldn’t be, because of the strong sanitation program we have. Then Orkin analyzed a sample they sent and it turned out to be some burned ingredient. I think the customer was more likely to believe an independent company like Orkin than us.”
Pepsi Bottling’s Riviera Beach, Fla., plant also is seeking its first AIB certification, probably next year. AIB may seem like an unlikely certifying organization for a beverage plant, but “it’s a PepsiCo initiative. AIB has customized their process for PepsiCo, so it’s very important to the corporation to get this third-party quality certification,” says Paul Groth, process control manager at the plant.
So despite the fact that Santiano Brothers Inc., the local Copesan partner, already provides volumes of reports, “We will probably be asking for more by the end of the year and even more next year as we pursue AIB beverage certification,” says Groth. “Third-party auditing is a critical way to validate your quality processes.”
Copesan service specialists carry hand-held computers “to ensure our record-keeping is accurate and up to date,” says Sargent. “Record-keeping is the first thing looked at in an audit, the easiest thing to verify – and the first thing that will give away an inadequate program. As a pest management provider, we need to know what auditing agencies you’ll be judged by. We’re familiar with them all, and can tailor our program to meet those client needs,” says Sargent.