Last week, I “tweeted” about the Similac formula recall as a result of beetles. Not surprisingly it got a lot of hits, most likely from extremely worried mothers. According to Abbott Laboratories, the recall of more than 5 million pounds of the company’s powdered formula, came after reports by two consumers of contamination and an internal quality review of an area in the Sturgis, MI plant where beetles or their larvae were found.
Pretty gross, I know. Unfortunately, just like you get annoying pests in your house, manufacturers, including the food industry, get bugs in their facilities. Actually, food processing plants can be a bug wonderland, with plenty of places to hide and an ample food supply. Fortunately, most plants are extremely vigilant to keep insects out of their plants through comprehensive pest control and sanitation programs. And because using chemicals in a food plant should only be a last line of defense, a strict maintenance plan that includes an industrial vacuum cleaner can play a critical role in bug prevention.
Take for instance, Harris Woolf Almonds. As a major processor of almonds, their facility generates lots of almond dust, a breeding ground for insects. They use to clean their plant daily with mops and brooms, but not only was it extremely time-consuming and inefficient, it never completely eliminated the almond dust that settled on machinery, walls, and floor. Not to mention that brooms easily spread bug larvae, and water left behind from mopping could easily attract insects. Several years ago, the almond processor invested in a Nilfisk CFM 137 (now the S3). Equipped with wands and nozzles to reach overhead and tight spaces, the vacuum has been able to collect every last bit of almond dust, about 75% faster than sweeping. In fact, shortly after incorporating the vacuum into their maintenance plans, they received Superior recognition from AIB International.
According to Copesan, a pest control company, every dollar spent on insect pest prevention will, most likely, return additional dollars in reduced product losses. So managing pests is actually an investment and not an expenditure. Prevention is one critical factor in any effective pest management program. Prevention of pests means prevention of losses — losses of product, reputation and time. Prevention takes many forms. Two basic forms are exclusion and sanitation. Keeping the pests outside, along with proper sanitation inside, helps prevent infestation and leads to a more organized, more efficient and safer work place.
For more information:
Keep the Bugs Away, Food Processing magazine.