Food processing areas need to be dust, insect and vermin proof

In order to produce safe food products, care must be taken to keep the facility clean.

In planning, building, maintaining and operating a food processing facility, adequate consideration must be given to the exclusion of dust, insects and vermin inside the facility. Proper attention will result in better regulatory inspection results and better protect the public through safer food products.

All of the external windows and doors should be sealed in a way that excludes dust, vermin and insects, when closed. Regular inspections for cracks, seals, opened windows will allow the operator to identify problems and to fix any deficiencies. Ventilation openings should also be working properly and sealed off when not in use.

Doors for employees should also be on site. Personnel should not have to walk through doors designed for equipment. These doors should be adequately sealed also, cracks filled and a self-closing device installed.

Larger doors also need to be fly and vermin proof. This is achieved by use of one or more methods including insect proof screens, self-closing doors, air curtains and vestibules. Seals, screens, self-closing devices around these doors also need to be in good working order, inspected regularly, and fixed when broken.

Typically, storage should be off the floor, on pallets or in other containers that provide protection of the product from vermin, insects and dust. Pallets should not be place against a wall, leaving adequate space for visual inspection. On the outside of the facility grass and weeds need to be cut, to prevent places of harborage for vermin and insects.

Devices used to control insects and vermin should be located and placed in a way that food products will not be contaminated. Electric devices and other types of traps must be used in a manner that will not contaminate food. Poison baits should never be used within the a food processing facility. Operators should check with local regulations regarding the use of poison bates, and in any case they must be used outside of facility. On occasion professional pest control may be necessary.

Food processors who are evaluating facilities for start-up operations and others who need assistance in determining how to control pests in their food processing facilities, can call Extension Educators at Michigan State University Extension and Innovation Counselors at the Michigan State University Product Center assist businesses in the establishment of good practices to improve business effectiveness. For further information and assistance with employee communications please contact your local Michigan State University Extension office. 

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