Third party auditing standards for pest control debated at SOFHT seminar

With Version 7 of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) standard becoming effective just one day earlier, it was a very timely moment for the Society of Food Hygiene and Technology (SOFHT) to organise a one-day seminar to address the topic of pest control in the food industry.

Held on 2 July at the Yew Lodge hotel near Nottingham this SOFHT-organised event attracted some 60 delegates with a pest control interest. Representatives came not only from food manufacturers, but also from auditors, pest control servicing companies and the pest control product supply sector.

Think small
Before the main ‘meat’ of the day, there were two technical presentations on flying insects. Professor Moray Anderson, technical director from Killgerm Chemicals, encouraged everyone to ‘think small’. When removed, glue boards from electronic fly killers (EFKs) usually display a few large flies (frequently house flies or lesser house flies) and a mass of much smaller black flies, or to use his Scottish description ‘wee black things.’ These were likely to be drain flies, of which there are six common species, all of which he went on to identify, but he challenged the abilities of pest controllers to do this! Interestingly, he reported that the number of drain flies sent in for identification at Killgerm has increased significantly in the last five years. Regarding control, he stressed you had to ‘think small’ as minute cracks and patches of damp and rotting vegetative material were enough to cause a problem.

Analyse what you have caught
Following this, PestWest’s Frederick (Fred) Hurstel presented a whistle-stop resume of the technical developments of EFKs and echoed the significance of Moray’s message of analysing the catch on glue boards. Fred explained that it is now established practice for the international food standard organisations to recommend the use of suitable fly killers.

Audits often unannounced
Moving to the title theme of the day, Brian Duffin, Rokill’s chief technical officer said he felt genuinely sorry for all managers in the food industry who were responsible for meeting the specifications laid down by the retailers as they were under the constant threat of an audit – often unannounced.

Add to this the variation in standards laid-down by the retailers (see Pest 39 June & July 2015 Navigating the maze of food manufacturing standards) and the position gets more complex. But Brian stressed all standards should be treated as the minimum to work to.

BRC Version 7 – just one day old!
Just one day after Issue 7 of the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety became effective (1 July 2015), Jonathan Revell of White Welly traced the development of the BRC Standard since its introduction in1998. There are now 17,962 sites around the world following this food safety standard, 2,506 of which (14%) are in the UK. He noted that some sites brought forward their audit dates to before the deadline to avoid Issue 7 requirements.

Also timely, on what was virtually the hottest day to date this year, Will Watts, category technical manager for Waitrose, raised the issue of rodent control saying that most factories had issues with rodents and one key problem area was doors being left open – a feature likely to be common in this current weather. He queried what could be classified as an infestation? A question posed by the initial speaker of the day (Moray) who had explained he always spoke about ‘pest activity’.

A further report from this event will be available in Issue 40 August & September 2015 of Pest magazine.