Tag Archives: business

Chelle Hartzer, Orkin
Bug Bytes

Stay Audit-Ready, Anytime with Integrated Pest Management

By Chelle Hartzer
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Chelle Hartzer, Orkin

The unlimited supply of food sources that manufacturing facilities provide can make pest management a daunting task, especially with the scrutiny of third-party auditors, government regulators and customers. These high standards, along with yours, mean that diligence is a key ingredient in the recipe for pest management success.

Why is this important? The steps you take to prevent pests, and how issues are resolved if pest activity is detected, affects the overall credibility of your business. After all, pest management can account for up to 20% of an audit score.

Auditors look for an integrated pest management (IPM) plan, which includes prevention, monitoring, trend reports and corrective actions. If you want to stay audit-ready, all the time, implement the following five principles.

Open Lines of Communication

A successful pest management partnership is just that: A partnership. Create an open dialogue for ongoing communication with your pest management provider. Everyone has a role to play from sanitation to inspection to maintenance. For example, if there are any changes in your facility, such as alteration of a production line, let your provider know during their next service visit. During each visit, it’s important to set aside time to discuss what was found and done during the visit, including new pest sightings and concerns.

Communication shouldn’t be limited to the management team; your entire staff should be on board. During their day-to-day duties, employees should know what to look for, and most importantly, what to do if they notice pests or signs of pests. Reporting the issue right away can make a huge difference in solving a pest problem before it gets out of hand. Also, most pest management providers offer staff training sessions. These can be an overview of the basics during your next staff meeting or a specialized training on a pertinent issue.

Inspect Regularly

A thorough inspection can tell you a lot about your facility and the places most at risk for pests. Your pest management provider will be doing inspections every visit, but routine inspections should be done by site personnel as well. Everyone at the site has a set of eyes, so why not use them? This way, you can identify hot spots for pests and keep a closer eye on them. Pests are small and can get in through the tiniest of gaps, so some potential entry points to look out for are:
• Windows and doors. Leaving them propped open is an invitation for all sorts of pests. Don’t forget to check the bottom door seal and ensure it is sealed tight to the ground.

  • Floor drains. Sewers can serve as a freeway system for cockroaches, and drains can grant them food, water and shelter.
  • Dock plates. A great entry point for pests, as there are often gaps surrounding dock plates.
  • Ventilation intakes. These are a favorite spot for perching, roosting or nesting birds, as well as entry points for flying insects.
  • Roof. You can’t forget about the roof, as it serves as a common entry point for birds, rodents and other pests.

Another thing to look for is conducive conditions, such as sanitation issues and moisture problems. These are areas where there may not be pests yet, but they provide a perfect situation that pests could take advantage of if they aren’t dealt with. Make sure to take pictures of deficiencies so that can be shared with the maintenance department or third-party who can fix it. You can also take a picture of the work when it has been finished, showing the corrective action!

Keep It Clean

Proper sanitation is key to maintaining food safety and for preventing and reducing pests. You need a written sanitation plan to keep your cleaning routine organized and ensure no spots are left unattended for too long. The following are some additional steps consider:

  • Minimize and contain production waste. While it’s impossible to clean up all the food in a food processing site (you are producing said food!), it’s important to clean up spills quickly and regularly remove food waste.
  • Keep storage areas dry and organized.
  • Remember FIFO procedures (first in, first out) when it comes to raw ingredients and finished products.
  • Clean and maintain employee areas such as break rooms and locker rooms.
  • Ensure the outside of your facility stays clean and neat with all garbage going into trash cans with fitted lids.
  • Make sure dumpsters are emptied regularly and the area around them kept clean.


Monitoring devices for many pests will be placed strategically around your facility. Some common ones are insect light traps (ILTs), rodent traps and bait stations, insect pheromone traps and glue boards. It’s important to let employees know what these are there for and to respect the devices (try not to run them over with a fork lift or unplug them to charge a cell phone). These devices will be checked on a regular basis and the type of pest and the number of pests will be recorded. This data can then be analyzed over time to show trends, hot spots, and even seasonal issues. Review this with your pest management provider on a regular basis and establish thresholds and corrective actions to deal with the issues when they reach your threshold. The pest sighting log can also be considered a monitoring tool. Every time someone writes down an issue they have seen, this can be quickly checked and dealt with.

Maintain Proper Documentation

Pest management isn’t a one-time thing but a cycle of ongoing actions and reactions. Capturing the process is extremely important for many reasons. It allows you to analyze, refine and re-adjust for the best results. It’s a great way to identify issues early. Also, it’s a critical step for auditors. Appropriate documentation must be kept on hand and up-to-date. There’s lots of documentation to keep when it comes to pest management and your provider should be keeping all of that ready—from general documentation like your annual facility assessment and risk assessment to training and certification records, pest sighting reports, safety data sheets and more.

The documentation aspect may seem like a lot at first, but a pest management provider can break it down and make it easier. It’s absolutely necessary for food and product safety and will become second nature over time.

Matrix Sciences and Savour Food Safety International

Matrix Sciences Acquires Savour Food Safety International and Savor Safe Food

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Matrix Sciences and Savour Food Safety International
Gina Kramer
Gina (Nicholson) Kramer, executive director of Savour Food Safety International

Matrix Sciences International, Inc. has announced the acquisition of Savour Food Safety International and Savor Safe Food, organizations that provide consulting, auditing and training services in food safety and quality, and product development.

“Gina and her teams have built two strong companies with outstanding reputations that come from providing a unique level of service to their customers,” said Robert Wiebe, CEO of Matrix Sciences, in a company press release. “This strategic investment adds to the scope and depth of our Advisory business and has real linkage to our other services. ” Gina (Nicholson) Kramer is the executive director of Savour Food Safety International and also a member of Food Safety Tech’s Editorial Advisory Board. She will continue to serve in the same role and said the acquisition will not change how Savour Food Safety does business. However, the deal will give the firm access to new services, including laboratory testing, process validation, environmental monitoring program assessments, and R&D and sensory testing. “Matrix Sciences is creating an unparalleled team of expert services to provide customers with resources of a large company while maintaining a very focused, personalized approach to service for every client,” said Kramer.

Matrix Sciences has operations nationwide to address the needs of food and beverage industries and has grown through acquisitions of Richter International and Neumann Risk Services as well.

Gina (Nicholson) Kramer will be moderating Salmonella Detection & Control Sanitation Workshop at the 2019 Food Safety Consortium Conference & Expo.

US Foods

$1.8 Billion Cash Deal: US Foods to Acquire SGA’s Food Group of Companies

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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US Foods

This week US Foods Holding Corp announced a deal to acquire the five operating companies, SGA’s Food Group of Companies, for $1.8 billion in cash. SGA’s food companies are Food Services of America, Inc., Systems Services of America, Inc., Amerifresh, Inc., Ameristar Meats, Inc., and GAMPAC Express, Inc. Collectively these companies provide services that include food service for casual and fast casual dining, distribution, produce sourcing and marketing, custom meats, and supply chain planning and logistics.

“This acquisition will significantly increase US Foods’ reach across key markets in the attractive and growing Northwest region of the U.S. and adds one of the most well-regarded regional distributors to our company,” said US Foods Chairman and CEO Pietro Satriano in a company release.

In addition to expanding US Foods’ footprint in the Northwest, the company will leverage the scale of SGA’s Food Group of Companies, which have nearly 33,000 customers, 12 distribution centers and more than 20 private brands. US Foods estimates it will achieve $55 million in annual run-rate cost synergies by the end of FY 2022 as a result of savings in administrative expenses, distribution and procurement.

Matthew Botos, ConnectFood
FST Soapbox

Innovation Fundamentals Start With A Food Safety Foundation

By Matthew Botos
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Matthew Botos, ConnectFood

Food Safety. Two powerful words that hold the key to growth for food and beverage in the Chicago region (Chicagoland) in 2018. And when said differently, they can mean so many different things.

Everyone eats. Is your food safe? Do you want to consume safe food? How do you manage the safety of your food? How long is my food safe (my mom calls and asks this all the time)? All good questions and something that can be terrifying to the thousands of local companies and millions of consumers in any given area. The Chicagoland community understands that availability of proper meals and nutrition can be an issue for certain areas, and we are tackling that as a community in other efforts.

Food safety is impactful to the farmers (growers), manufacturers, and especially consumers. Think about when you walk into a grocery store. Every product you look at is mandated to have some type of food safety risk management plan. The consumers of today and tomorrow are demanding healthier, clean label, safe items. Farm-to-table is more than a trend; it’s a way of life. My belief is that food safety is “basics done well” and there are tens of thousands of professionals in Industry, academia and government working to make this happen. I try to draw the analogy that the food and beverage industry is a like an iceberg—we only really see the tip of that iceberg being the large national names that everyone recognizes. FDA has an estimated 125,000 registered facilities. This does not include facilities regulated by USDA and other unregistered facilities. Therefore, the food and beverage industry iceberg is actually mostly below the water line. It is estimated that 80% of all food companies have less than 100 employees. In my experience, I believe that number is closer to less than 50 employees.

Chicagoland is filled with high-growth companies that are rapidly changing the industry. They have a unique product, it tastes great, and the packaging is amazing. They believe we should all buy their products! When working with these companies, I ask them: What is your pH? What is your water activity? What temperature do you heat your product to and for how long? Do you use preservatives? What is your shelf life? How are you keeping your records? Do you know if your suppliers have safe food? DO YOU have a food safety plan? I have seen plenty of these talented people start to cry.

There should be no fear of food safety, and once you sit down with companies and talk about a step-by-step “basics-done-well” plan, they realize that they can do this. We have strong innovative large, medium and small companies in the region. And the way they come together, through organizations like Chicagoland Food and Beverage Network, gives Chicagoland the competitive edge at being the food and beverage hub for the United States. But none of this can happen without food safety.

For companies, it is simply a matter of telling your story and how you safely make your products. Sometimes companies have to make some changes and they must prepare proper paperwork. These steps are necessary to inform the regulators and the retail outlets who want to know that there are food safety plans in place and the products are safe.

Many companies are moving toward innovative technologies to make food safer. We have companies using high pressure processing to help with shelf life and inactivation of pathogenic bacteria. Some are using chemistry. Some are using unique packaging. The great thing about the Chicagoland community is that we have access to experts in all of these fields that will help companies continue to grow safely. This includes incubators, marketing firms, scientists and international organizations like the IIT’s Institute for Food Safety and Health.

Chicagoland food and beverage companies are world leaders and will continue to be so as long as they start with food safety.

Matrix Sciences

Matrix Sciences Acquires Neumann Risk Services

Matrix Sciences

Matrix Sciences recently announced the acquisition of Neumann Risk Services, LLC (NRS), led by Melanie Neumann, J.D., M.S., according to a press release. Neumann’s venture, NRS, combines a consulting business with a legal practice, focusing in the areas of food safety, food science, food defense, recall & crisis management.

Adding NRS to the Matrix Sciences portfolio allows them to further grow their consulting capabilities, working with Neumann to expand their set of services. She will be building a suite of services targeted at helping companies reap the benefits of their investments in food safety risk management, according to the press release.

In addition to taking the role of Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Matrix, Melanie Neumann will also maintain Neumann Legal Services, a separate but allied legal practice. “I made the decision to join Matrix Sciences because our vision for meeting the changing and unmet needs of the food industry align very well,” says Neumann. “But more than that, our value in how we need to meet those needs make for a great fit.”

Neumann received her law degree from Mitchell Hamline Law School and a Master of Science in Food Science from Michigan State University. Neumann has worked as an attorney in a number of capacities at major food companies throughout the world, building herself a reputation as a prominent consultant, thought leader and adviser in the world of food safety.

Robert Wiebe, chief executive officer of Matrix Sciences, says this acquisition is an important step in their growth strategy. “Melanie and NRS are critical to building a true full-service solution provider,” says Wiebe. “Building on the capabilities and capacity from our acquisitions of Richter International and Northland Laboratories, our portfolio of companies represents a growing and unique partner for our customers in addressing the challenges and opportunities in bringing safe food to market.”

NSF International Acquires Burwater Pacific Group, Expands Reach in New Zealand and Australia

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Yesterday NSF International announced the acquisition of Burwater Pacific Group, a New Zealand-based food safety training, auditing and consulting business. The deal further expands NSF’s food safety and quality services to the food manufacturing and retail markets in New Zealand and Australia. Led by Nigel Burrows, the Burwater Pacific Group will be renamed NSF Burwater and become part of the NSF International Food Safety and Quality Division. NSF Burwater will offer the following services:

  • Technical consulting, including services for new product launches (product development, label review, food control plans, HACCP development, and micro and chemical sampling)
  • Auditing services, including franchise compliance and operational standards review, and third-party regulatory audits
  • Training and development

Food Safety and Sleepless Nights

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Trust in suppliers. From a global perspective, it’s about experiences. Do you trust your suppliers? Do we silo ourselves such that we forget we’re the ones who add value ? Never underestimate the importance of adding value. As business owners, it’s important to completely integrate yourself into the business. Break down the silos and integrate yourself into the business. You can’t expect everyone else to learn your language; you need to learn industry’s language. What else keeps food safety experts up at night?