October 14, 2019 / Media Mention / Food Engineering Magazine
Patricia Hottel, technical director for McCloud, contributes to Food Engineering‘s article “Food processors must be proactive in sanitary and hygienic design”
No Pests Allowed
Sanitary design means looking at the entire structure, inside and outside. When talking with Food Engineering, Patricia Hottel, technical director at McCloud Services, shared that sanitary design is critical in achieving the food safety element of pest prevention. “Well designed and maintained food facility structures and food processing equipment can help prevent the establishment of pests in a facility. It will help in excluding pests and reducing conditions beneficial to their survival,” she said.
Challenges for Pest Management Companies
She also discussed the challenges for pest management companies helping their customers with sanitary design principles. For instance, Pat shared that the challenges can vary depending on the type of processing being performed. However, some of the biggest challenges can occur when a building is converted to a food production facility when it was not designed initially for food production. “It tends to lead to more issues for this reason,” she explained. “Retrofitting a building can be difficult with issues like general wall construction and the use of hollow block walls providing areas for pest harborage. Similarly, corrugated metal walls can be particularly difficult to pest-proof and may become difficult to clean due to pest proofing efforts of these walls. We look for the difficult-to-clean areas in inspecting for pests.” She said the wrong construction materials can contribute to the challenges in cleaning as well.
Pat also mentioned water management is another common area of concern and can contribute to pests like the small flies. “How well do floor surfaces drain? Is standing water accumulating underneath a tank or piece of equipment which is then supporting fly development? Is the water contributing to floor deterioration which compounds the issue? Are channel drains in place and how well does the drain empty? What does the floor integrity look like around the drain?” she asked. This takes us back to flooring being so critical in a hygienic design.
Pat shared that the same principles of focusing heavily on cleaning and the ability to effectively clean equipment with an original purpose of controlling microbes also relate to the removal of food and harborage areas which can contribute to insect pest development. She said that denying access to food, water and shelter are all part of an insect management program.
Starts with a Risk Analysis
In addition to a pest management program, Pat added that it starts with a risk analysis of the site before food processors become a client and it continues through observations and client communication during each service. “We use our tracking and trending data to further refine programs and monitor our program’s effectiveness,” she said. Annual assessments are performed by a member of their management team to further inspect and note conditions conducive to pests and modify the program accordingly. She added, “It is another opportunity to discuss and educate our customers regarding conditions and their risk to pest development. We have a technical team comprised of entomologists and food safety experts available for consultation and assistance as contracted and needed.”