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Proving Preventative Pest Management Works

Excerpt from Quality Assurance Magazine October 2010

When pest prevention is done well, it leads companies and food facilities, specifically to believe that they do not have pest problems and thus, do not need ongoing pest management services. However, there is rarely the recognition that the lack of pests is due to the consistent and effective pest management services being provided. When pest professionals are given access for in-depth inspections and the ability to communicate with organizational decision-makers regarding their findings, concerns and recommendations, many of the issues that plagued Peanut Corp of America rarely arise. In fact, it is when a true partnership is cultivated between a pest professional and executives at a food facility that prevention is at its best.

Yet, as logical as that may seem, it is not yet the norm. In fact, facility managers are often faced with making the increasingly difficult argument to corporate executives that prevention measures are the direct reason that the facility does not have a pest problem.

In reality, the pest infestations that arise after companies forgo proactive prevention measures tend to wreak far more havoc and cost to treat than the prevention program that may have staved off such pest problems. PCA is an outstanding example of that. Not only did the lack of preventative measures lead to food contamination and illness but more, it led to a public outcry against the company for its blatant disregard of meeting proper safety standards.

A defunct level of commitment to pest management is likely to be a reflection of the overall corporate view toward safety. It was true of PCA and in its wake, food facilities have been left to reevaluate their own programs and try to find ways in which to strengthen safety measures and allay consumer concerns. Preventative pest management is just one way in which to do this, especially if pest professionals can work with facilities to help them understand the long-term benefits of preventative maintenance.