For packaging facilities, preparing for audits is not a one-time event. In an environment where any day could be audit day, keeping your facility in top shape must be an every day priority.
A major part of that preparation is pest management—accounting for up to 20 percent of your final audit score. Disease-carrying pests can contaminate every surface they touch, making your packaging materials potential conduits for food-borne illness. Your customers deserve peace of mind that your packaging materials won’t threaten food safety at any point on the supply chain.
Implementing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program will help you to keep your product safe and prepare for an auditor’s inspection. In fact, many third-party auditors require an IPM program, because it shows a proactive approach to pest management. IPM’s focus on sanitation and facility maintenance helps keep pests out, protects your product and reduces the need for chemical treatments.
To keep your IPM program audit-ready all year long, monitor daily for signs of pest activity, including droppings, chew marks, and live or dead pests. Inspect your facility regularly for any needed sanitation or maintenance repairs. Are there any pest entry points around your facility’s exterior? Do any openings around utility connections or around windows and doors need to be sealed? Remember that many insects only need a one and a half millimeter gap to enter, while mice only need an opening the size of dime to access your building. Seal any cracks and crevices with weather resistant sealant, which will help to keep even the smallest of pests out.
Keep up-to-date and accurate records, because auditors review this documentation as evidence of an effective pest management program. Remember that in an auditor’s eyes, if it isn’t documented, then it didn’t happen. Here are some common documentation mistakes that can result in markdowns: