Case Studies
Food and Beverage Processing

Sara Lee


Sara Lee Coffee & Tea and Orkin: Pursuing Excellence, Surviving the Storm

Backed by a name recognized the world over, Sara Lee Coffee & Tea in Harahan, La., a town just outside of New Orleans, is an 87,000-square-foot coffee manufacturing plant employing 86 full-time workers.  The plant’s focus on the highest pest management standards led Orkin and The IPM Institute of North America to recognize Sara Lee with a 2005 Gold Medal IPM Partner Award.

One visit to Sara Lee’s Harahan coffee plant and it’s clear that you’re in a place that prides itself on excellence.  But even the most diligent plant needs help maintaining those high standards.  With Indian meal moths posing a year-round threat and other pest populations exploding during hurricane season, the plant needed a pest management provider that shared its passion for being the best.


Working Together for Outstanding Audits

Since the onset of the relationship, Orkin has worked with Sara Lee to institute a Gold Medal Protection program that uses Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles to help keep pests out year-round.  With weekly service visits, an on-call commercial pest specialist who is on site during all third-party audits, and what Graffeo characterizes as “astonishing paperwork,” Gold Medal Protection prepares the plant well for outstanding audit performance.

But even the most thorough pest management program will fall short without buy-in from the customer.  “Sara Lee’s commitment to excellence is the benchmark of what an IPM program should be,” explains Orkin Service Manager John Mercier.  “Everyone at Sara Lee – from the plant manager to the men and women on the line – is focused on perfection, and they really work as a team to accomplish that goal.  Our partnership continues to flourish because we share a commitment to going above and beyond what is expected.”


Help After the Storm

While Hurricane Katrina spared the Sara Lee plant, it destroyed the homes and disrupted the lives of many Sara Lee employees.  Sara Lee responded by setting up temporary housing for its many displaced employees next to the coffee plant.  Orkin resumed regular service as soon as the plant reopened – just a few weeks after the storm – and extended its pest control services to the temporary employee housing.

“The Gold Medal IPM Partner Award means a lot to our employees who work hard to make this plant the best it can be,” said Sara Lee Plant Manager Charles Graffeo.  “Orkin has been a committed partner through all the trials of the past year, and they continue to help us pursue pest control perfection.”