McCloud Pest Invasion 2017 focused on food safety


May 24, 2017


Dr. Matt Frye goes over rodent basics with the audience.

McCloud Services, based in South Elgin, Ill., hosted its annual Pest Invasion food industry pest management seminar on April 25, 2017, at the Drury Lane Convention Center in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. The seminar was attended by nearly 350 pest management, environmental health, and food safety professionals; and featured a variety of top speakers. As one of the few pest management seminars with a focus on the food industry, McCloud Services announced some key takeaways from the successful event.

The central theme of Pest Invasion 2017 revolved around food safety and critical issues surrounding the food industry. Experts presented information on exclusion and sanitation, U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, foodborne illness and important components of a food safety program and pest management.

Speakers included Dr. Michael Doyle, Regents Professor of Food Microbiology, University of Georgia; Dr. Matt Frye of the New York State IPM Program at Cornell University; Dr. Craig Henry, Food Safety Consultant, Intro. Inc; Ed Hosoda, Vice President, Cardinal Professional Products; Dr. Linda Mason, Assistant Dean & Professor of Entomology, Purdue University; and John Rightor, Food Safety Professional, AIB International.

Key takeaways from the conference include the following. Downloadable PDFs of speaker presentations are live-linked in their respective titles:

Food Safety Trends by Dr. Michael Doyle:
Dr. Doyle presented information regarding the value of whole genome sequencing and whole genome sequencing data bases in the early detection of foodborne illness outbreaks. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state public health departments are now able to detect and uncover sources of foodborne illnesses much more easily and faster than five to 10 years ago. Some of the recent cases which were detected and benefited from the whole genome sequencing program for Listeria included those involving caramel apples, Karovan cheese and Blue Bell Ice Cream. The CDC is examining 30 to 60 potential outbreaks per day based on data being generated.

Dr. Doyle also discussed the concerns over food imports and food safety implications of these imports, as well as consumer demands for chemical-free foods and the unintended consequences of these demands. He discussed aquaculture practices in southeast Asia and the use of human and other animal wastes in feeding fish and shrimp in these countries. Concerns regarding antibiotic resistance and heavy metal contamination of soil are also important issues in this region.

Regarding the chemical phobias, he reviewed several cases where preservatives were removed from food products based on public risk perceptions. The removal of the preservatives led to food safety issues. Examples of preservative removal and some unintended costs included mold in juice and recalls of cheese and bacon for premature spoilage concerns.

Exclusion: The Future of Pest Management by Dr. Matt Frye:
Dr. Frye discussed some of the important reasons why rodent control programs are critical from a public health and food safety perspective. A rodent’s ability to transmit disease may remain in the environment even after the rodents have gone. Pathogens like Salmonella can remain viable in rodent fecal pellets for as long as 86 days.

Dr. Frye also stressed the importance of profiling your rodent populations through identification of species, gender and age. An adult male house mouse in a trap may mean a recent introduction, whereas a juvenile may signify interior breeding populations. Deer mice are more likely be present because of exterior pest pressures vs. the common house mouse. A careful analysis of traps can be beneficial in developing and modifying rodent control programs to reflect what the pest captures are indicating.

Lastly, Dr. Frye called for all rodent control professionals to think about long-term solutions instead of short term, temporary control efforts. As we find captured rodents in traps, we need to do more than perform the role of “checknician.” Instead, we need to do root cause analysis examining why the pests are present and address those conditions.

Complying with FSMA Food Defense Rules by Dr. Craig Henry:
Dr. Henry reviewed the compliance requirements under the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) for food defense, and the strategies needed to prevent the deliberate contamination of food by internal or external forces. Included in his discussion were some of the reasons for the inclusion of food defense requirements under FSMA and the basics of a program plan.

A food defense program must address three main elements of prevention, response and recovery. In developing a plan, the food processor must:

  • Assess vulnerabilities.
  • Evaluate mitigation strategies.
  • Document the food defense plan.
  • Implement focused strategies to mitigate the vulnerabilities.

Documentation will be a large component of compliance, and it is estimated that 80 percent of FSMA-based FDA audits in general will focus on documentation. Dr. Henry also mentioned that it will take FDA 10-20 years to fully implement all the components of FSMA and that we may see some audit specialists who will specialize in different components of FSMA. Because of the magnitude of the regulations, it may be too challenging for one single auditor to have the expertise needed in all the elements of compliance.

If you Build it Wrong, They Will Come by Ed Hosoda:
Hosoda, representing Cardinal Professional Products, emphasized the chemical and non-chemical tools that may be required to remedy a pest problem resulting from poor building design. Included in his presentation was information regarding the use of fumigants, space treatments and residual insecticide applications.

He also provided some key tips on efficacy of different pesticides on pests, including the use of insect growth regulators (IGRs).

If You Build it Right, They Won’t Come – Pest Prevention and Monitoring by Dr. Linda Mason:
Dr. Mason discussed the importance of building design, building maintenance and monitoring for insects as part of a total pest management program. She reviewed the conditions necessary for pest survival, and how human behaviors can contribute to pest survival. In addition, if we do not practice proper product inventory management, we can allow pests to build populations over time. If we can reduce the required elements for survival, we can keep pest issues to a minimum. Two studies were also presented regarding the implications that poor sanitation, in providing pests easy access to food, can have on our programs.

How FSMA Impacts the Pest Control Industry by John Rightor:
Righto, an American Institute of Baking (AIB) auditor, presented information on common findings during AIB audits and their rankings as part of the discussion of FSMA compliance. Pest management was listed as one of the Top 5 common unsatisfactory findings during AIB audits. Within the pest management category, pest habitats and pesticide control violations were the most common inaccuracies found.

To help avoid audit deductions and comply with FSMA, the pest management program must be based on a solid risk assessment of the site and the use of available science to make program decisions. It is also important to understand that the pest management program must evolve and change as necessary to meet site needs. The program is not static, and must change as risks change.


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