Beefing Up Pest Control

Meat & Poultry 

 “Beef Up” Pest Control to Meet Audits Head On

Zia Siddiqi, Ph.D., B.C.E., Director of Quality Systems, Orkin, Inc.


Do you live in anticipation of your next audit?  If you’re like most meat processors, you might.  No matter how well your last audit went, one small infraction – like the presence of pests – can drastically change the game.  With pest control accounting for up to 20 percent of your total audit score, in most audits, it’s important to take a look at how your facility can “beef up” this part of its operation.

Audit preparation becomes less daunting if you incorporate it as part of your daily routine.  Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs pair pest prevention with regular sanitation, facility maintenance, and detailed documentation.  Educate your staff on their role in the IPM process to further improve your chances of catching a pest problem early on – before the external auditor does.  Many reputable pest management companies will train your employees to identify pest signs and conditions that are conducive to infestations.  Knowledgeable employees are a great asset in helping keep pests out of your facility.  Ask them to keep an eye out for potential problems that could result in audit deductions:

  • While walking through the facility, look for signs of pest activity, including droppings, chew marks and live or dead pests.
  • Monitor for any needed sanitation or maintenance repairs.  Catching these early can prevent pest problems before they start.
  • Sweat the small stuff – seal openings around utility connections as well as cracks or gaps around windows and doors with weather-resistant sealant.  Conduct a “gap analysis” of your facility as cockroaches only need a 1/16 inch gap to enter, while mice only need an opening the size of dime to access your building.
  • Keep it clean – not only will impeccable sanitation prevent the spread of pathogens, but it also will help prevent pests.

In addition to your ongoing pest control efforts, it’s important to meet quarterly with your pest management professional to discuss and review your IPM program.  Use this opportunity to discuss any facility updates, including additions or schedule changes that may affect your current pest control methods.  Take some extra time the week before scheduled audits to thoroughly review your pest control program and any areas for improvement.  Common deductions include:

  • Missing Documentation:  Keep up-to-date and accurate records, as many auditors review this documentation as evidence of an effective pest management program.  Store all documentation in a centralized logbook to allow the auditor to easily access documents, such as service reports, corrective actions, pest activity reports, trend data, pesticide usage logs, pesticide labels, material safety data sheets (MSDS) and floor plans.
  • Outdated Trap Maps:  Examine the placement of traps and bait stations around the exterior and interior of your facility.  Make sure they correspond with the site diagram kept in your documentation books – auditors will deduct points for discrepancies.  Replace chewed bait inside traps and make sure they are free of pests.

Finally, review your facility’s recent audit scores and correct any past deductions to avoid making the same mistake twice.  Then be sure to check out the two free resources from Orkin and NSF International to help prepare your pest management program for your next audit:

-        Pre-Audit Checklist provides a step-by-step checklist and pest control recommendations for food processing, manufacturing, and storage facilities preparing for third-party food safety audits.

-        Sanitation and Storage Quiz helps facilities rank their sanitation and storage efforts against best practices as recommended by Orkin and NSF.

Download these educational resources at under the “About Orkin” menu.

With preparation and planning, you may even look forward to your next audit.

Dr. Zia Siddiqi is Director of Quality Systems for Orkin, Inc.  A board certified entomologist with more than 30 years in the industry, Dr. Siddiqi is an acknowledged leader in the field of pest management.  For more information, e-mail or visit