This blog looks at what your responsibility is to the rest of the supply chain if you have a pest infestation, as pests at one point in the chain can affect everyone negatively.
The fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry is a fast-paced logistics operation that necessitates precise supply chain management as well as a keen eye for trends and details. There are regulatory and legal criteria for the safeguarding of food as well as sanitary standards that must be adhered to when food is manufactured, delivered, and stored - in addition to all the the routine operations that occur within the supply chain.
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) compliance and auditing standards are in place to guarantee that threats to food safety are minimised. In the modern world, almost everything can be considered a fast moving consumer good, due to businesses wanting to deliver more efficiently. Simply put, when customers order something, they want it instantly.
What are the risks and the remedial actions?
The most obvious risk is that pests will cause cross-contamination throughout your supply chain. This can be with any pest and with any commodity, and can damage your brand image and infuriate your customer base.
The most important part of managing any pest control concern is ensuring that there is compliance to the regulative and audit standards relating to your business.
Ultimately, Rentokil - in partnership with you (the manufacturer or retailer) must ensure the safety of the customers or consumers who will be receiving the products. We cannot compromise on safety, as that would leave customers exposed to increased risk, contamination, and harm.
The main questions I want you to think about are:
- What does my current pest control program cover and it is comprehensive? Not just for my site but the sites with which I will be sharing my products?
- If you currently have an infestation, do you know the route cause of the problem?
- What are the processes that need to be undertaken to control and monitor pest infestations in the future and for my supply chain?
When you think about answering these questions, here are some additional things to consider:
- Do my suppliers have a pest control program in place?
- Do they make me aware of their control measures so that I have confidence that when their products come to me they are clear of pests?
- How protected is my location, so that whilst products are there, they do not get cross contaminated and infested.
- Furthermore, how to I ensure that same level of compliance further down my supply chain?
Stored product insects root cause analysis
Let's do a short example of a root cause analysis using Stored Product Insects (SPI's) as our identified pest.
You're a grain producer and you supply some of the large cereal manufacturers in South Africa. As we know there are strict protocols when it comes to producing food items. You combat many pest risks along your product life cycle as you manage your crop fields, produce processing facilities, warehousing and distribution.
You've processed your product and it's ready for its next life cycle in a new production facility, but before it reaches distribution phase you need to be able to store it until an order is placed for the product to be moved.
Stored product insects are very destructive creatures, and the life cycle of stored product beetles and moth pests includes an egg stage, several larval stages, a pupal stage, and finally an adult stage. They are small but carry a host of cross contamination concerns and are usually the cause of major stock right offs.
Frequently, a single infected item placed into the storage facility is the source of a rapid and extensive infestation. Stored product insects can spread swiftly throughout a business, contaminating commodities as they bore through paper, plastic, and other forms of packaging.
You send your product down your supply chain without checking it for any signs of pests, and at the next stage of production, the cereal is now compromised. The negative cycle spirals down to the consumer who without a doubt will be very quick to complain. Then we start with product recalls - and those are very costly exercises (you can read more about product recalls and the costs of pests in food here). Now we can quite easily see how infested products can carry that issue throughout your supply chain.
What action points can you take from this?
- Have a cradle to grave approach to your supply chain, including your pest control processes.
- Ensure that there is a pest inspection stock/produce report for all goods entering site or leaving your site.
- The use of airtight containers for stock is always first prize when it comes to excluding pests
- Try not to place new stock items in the same batch/ area as older products, so that if infestations occur they can be better traced.
- Have a clear distinction between new products and products that have been on site for a while.
- Ensure that there is a root cause analysis of pest concerns on your sites and in your supply chain so that the issue can be identified, isolated and eradicated.
Professional SPI control from Rentokil
There are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration when managing pest control across a supply chain: pest identification, specific treatment methods, and monitoring processes to ensure we catch the correct target pests. This is why proper inspections from a reliable, professional pest control company are so important, and a positive pest identification is required so that we can use the correct preparations to combat the issue. Think you may have a pest problem or possible infestation? Contact our team to book a pest risk survey of your premises.
You may also want to download our Pest Control and the Power of Data: A New Era for Food Safety eBook to learn about how data can help you in your pest control efforts. Or, learn more about pest control for the supply chain.