Process and Operations

MRO Q&A: Protecting Facilities from Flies, Insects and Rodents

MRO Q&A is a Food Processing series addressing maintenance, repair and operational issues in food plants.

By Food Processing Staff

Q: How do we protect our facilities from flies, insects and rodents?

A: The easy answer is to hire a company that does this as a business. This may be a great solution, but there are things you can do to help yourself.  There are three ways to help mitigate this condition.

Begin by assessing the HVAC system. Air pressure inside the facility should always be positive, with the highest pressure in the area where the final step in production occurs. Positive pressure should be reduced at each upstream area of the process, until the beginning of the process is reached. Additionally, dust and bird ingress can be mitigated by installing air curtains, which are activated when doors are open and no trucks are in place. Filters in air make-up units will help prevent insect ingress.

The second level of control is procedural. This is embodied in GMPs (good manufacturing practices) that help prevent, control and mitigate insect presence. These procedures typically are overseen by quality assurance employees and vary from industrial segment to industrial segment and facility to facility. Online resources are available to assist facilities with limited resources.

The third strategy involves employee practices. The staff needs to be educated about basic "blocking and tackling," such as keeping doors and windows closed during operations, holding foodstuffs in refrigerated areas prior to use and removing waste from the production floor in a timely manner.

This solution to pest control may appear to be simple, but every plan is facility specific. Many folks have spent numerous sleepless nights trying to resolve this.

This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of Food Processing Magazine.