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Setting the Standard for Food Safety and Pest Management Solutions


Sustainability has become a mainstay in many vocabularies. It can be defined as “avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance”, or “the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level”, both apply to the food manufacturing industry. Whether it is sustaining agricultural commodities for raw material manufacturing through environmentally sound farming practices or maintaining an effective food safety management system.

Sustainability is important in both contexts. Having the resources to continually support the food supply chain while maintaining the natural resources is important. The methods utilized today can have a positive or negative effect tomorrow. Make it sustainable. There are many third-party sustainability certification programs available to the industry to ensure manufacturers “do good”, vs. just not doing harm, which is the way it used to be.

Sustainability in a food safety management system is just as important. Implementing a robust food safety management system is more than checking the box and getting high audit scores or ratings. The systems implemented must be manageable and sustainable. Documenting an internal audit program, for example, where the entire system is thoroughly reviewed is great, but is it sustainable? Probably not. Implement and maintain a food safety management system that is effective and sustainable. Keep realistic SMART goals, verify it is being managed, as designed, and validate that it is effective. Do not try to impress third parties just for a higher audit score, do it to protect the food supply and make it sustainable.

Submitted by: Rich Gibson ACE, CFSQA

The Housefly

Order: Diptera Family: Muscidae Genus: Musca Species: M. domestica

Adult houseflies are usually 1⁄4 to 9⁄32” long with a wingspan of 1⁄2 to 19⁄32”. The females tend to be larger winged than males, while males have relatively longer legs. Females tend to vary more in size. The flies have three simple eyes (ocelli) and a pair of short antennae. The mouthparts of the housefly are specially adapted for a liquid diet; the mandibles and maxillae are reduced and not functional, and the other mouthparts form a retractable, flexible proboscis with an enlarged, fleshy tip, the labellum.

The house fly has a complete metamorphosis with distinct egg, larval or maggot, pupal and adult stages. The house fly overwinters in either the larval or pupal stage under manure piles or in other protected locations. Adults usually live 15 to 25 days, but may live up to two months. Without food, they survive only about two to three days. Longevity is enhanced by availability of suitable food, especially sugar.

For control, good sanitation is the basic step in any fly management program. Food and materials on which the flies can lay eggs must be removed, destroyed as a breeding medium, or isolated from the egg-laying adult. Killing adult flies may reduce the infestation, but elimination of breeding areas is necessary for good management. Garbage cans and dumpsters should have tight-fitting lids and be cleaned regularly. With the increasing incidence of insecticide resistant house fly populations, rising costs of insecticides and a growing public concern about actual or potential problems associated with insecticides, interest in alternative house fly control strategies has increased. Natural biological suppression of the house fly results primarily from the actions of certain chalcidoid wasps (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae), of which many species have been associated with house fly around the world.

Submitted by: Rich Gibson, ACE, CFSQA

Remote Monitoring

As the pest management industry continues to evolve, so will the technology and devices. Remote monitoring is gaining traction within in the industry. As many know, RK Environmental (RKE) takes pride in being adaptive to innovations. Since 2019 RKE has trialed several different types of remote monitoring. These remote systems have ranged from interior mechanical traps to exterior bait stations.

In April of 2021 RKE implemented the first remote monitoring program (Bell Sensing) for a client location in Georgia. The program has been running smoothly! The purpose of this program is to have less time spent servicing devices and more time inspecting the facility for ongoing or potential pest or food safety concerns.

In May of this year, RKE implemented another Bell Sensing program at a client location in New Jersey. This was implemented in their warehouse where there are minor pest issues. In this case, a program to monitor the time saved on servicing devices versus the time gained for additional inspection was implemented. After five services into the program as of early June, the program appears to be working as it was designed and implemented.

The average service time has decreased by 23 minutes or roughly 21% from April to June. Although the service duration has decreased. The inspection time has increased. The Service Specialist assigned to provide service to client did not have to painstakingly service all the location’s mechanical traps. The Service Specialist was able to provide a more thorough inspection to areas that would not have during a normal service. While conducting the inspection rodent droppings were identified on a pallet of product. Due to this extra time spent on inspection, the client was able to implement a correction immediately and remove the pallet outdoors to breakdown the pallet for even further inspection. There were no other droppings or nesting materials found in the pallet. This potential problem was found due to the increased inspection time made available by the remote monitoring.

There are many ‘pros’ to the use of remote monitoring. This includes the ability to spend additional time on inspections instead of looking inside of empty devices. The reduced time spent on “checking traps” also reduces the risk of injury from everyday wear and tear on the Service Specialist’s body. The program is also more efficient and Bell Sensing is the only remote monitoring program that syncs with Pestpac. Other remote monitoring programs require additional service reports from their websites.

  • How it Works:
    • When arriving for service everything you typically do remains the same. The difference is when checking the devices.
    • Bell Sensing only captures rodent activity. These devices will sync to your phone. In most cases up to 100 feet away.
    • When it is time to inspect the devices, simply walk the trapline. When range of the devices it will ping on the Service specialist’s phone and alert if there were activity. If no activity occurred just keep moving to the next device. Only have to check devices that show activity. The time saved from not having to service all of the devices is the time you spend inspecting the facility.
    • Once per month all devices will need serviced, cleaned and glue boards replaced.

Submitted by: Adam Brumbach
Regional Director, South
RK Environmental Services, LLC