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Trending Analysis or Assessment?

 

  

Trending Analysis or Assessment?

             

The two practices are distinctively different activities, but they depend on each other.    

by  Al St. Cyr

There is some confusion in the food industry about the terms trending analysis and assessment when it comes to Integrated Pest Management (IPM). All too often, when reviewing what are supposed to be annual pest management assessments I am instead presented with a record that simply indicates an affirmation of the number of rodent monitoring devices installed in and around the facility. Companies also tend to consolidate recorded rodent activity as verification that the trending indicates they have sufficient coverage for the facility in question. Essentially, the information presented often is a collection of words and stats that represent nothing in terms of the status of the IPM program.

An assessment is the task exercised to assess or judge a program or event. The IPM assessment needs to be inclusive of a host of information gathered from the facility in order to make a reasonably accurate judgment about how the program is meeting the needs of the facility. Trend analysis is a practice of collecting information to attempt to spot a pattern as a means of predicting future events. These are two distinctively different activities that depend on each other. You cannot do accurate trending unless you have good data from an analysis of a situation or data collected. And you can’t defend the trending data unless you have an accurate assessment of the situation to support your trending findings. Each must be clear and defendable.

The IPM assessment is a critical review of the food plant as a whole to identify existing pest issues and conditions or practices that could lead to pest issues. The assessment is not just an equipment inventory or a means to report how many rodents were caught or killed. It should provide a reasonable answer as to why pests were present in the first place, so very proactive actions can be taken to avoid such future activity.

When IPM assessments are approached with a knee-to-floor viewpoint they do not take long because the only area the inspector is looking at is the space between his/her knees and the floor. He will not see stored product infestations in the warehouse or processing area and will not recognize when mice have migrated or been delivered to the upper levels of a racking system or are living in the motor compartments of processing equipment. She will never discover that the source of the blow fly population is actually located on the roof and that they are entering the plant because filters in three of the roof intakes are missing. Nor will they realize that the weekly fogging treatment for fruit flies that are breeding in severely damaged monolithic floor coverings has displaced a large German cockroach population that is now widespread throughout production areas. These are all outside the knee-to-floor vantage, resulting in the expansion of pest issues and loss of valuable time to implement corrective action programs.

A CORNERSTONE OF FSMA IS A VERY PROACTIVE PREVENTIVE CONTROL PROGRAM TO AVOID FOOD SAFETY ISSUES. 

One of the cornerstones of the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is a very proactive preventive control program to avoid food safety issues. Additionally, the FDA has indicated that inspections are the way to assess compliance with the new requirements. Integrated pest management has been based on these two concepts for years, yet lately it seems to have been reduced to an annual equipment inventory program.

A well-done pest management assessment is inclusive of all areas of a facility. It takes into account what is around the structure and how neighboring operations could impact the food plant. Having a marsh or woodland directly adjacent to the plant presents a different set of opportunities than being located in an industrial park or a residential area. Each of these settings needs to be evaluated for the steps that need to be taken to minimize the risks stemming from the environment.

             

Too often plant grounds are not reviewed with a critical eye. There is a tendency to simply accept that the trees adjacent to the building and mulch beds have to be tolerated while fighting an ongoing battle with occasional invading insects inside the plant. These issues, plus a general lack of building maintenance, are the reasons for the pest issues, and this will not change until permanent alterations have been made. The assessment findings should lead to determination of the root cause for the problem and science-based facts will direct the recommendations for treatment. The data collected will allow for trending analysis and clearly prove that the pests are present due to structural issues, not poor performance from the pest control service provider.

The entire interior area of a food plant presents challenges to pest management professionals. However, some areas (like the raw materials warehouse, lunch and locker rooms, and production areas that are difficult to reach for cleaning and maintenance) are more vulnerable to pest issues than others. The IPM professional needs to recognize the vulnerabilities and pay close attention to them during the assessment process. A thorough inspection provides the information needed to determine if your program, in conjunction with the plant’s activities, is limiting the potential for pest activity. Beyond the physical assessment, another important element of the process is a total review of records generated from the service provided. This provides a documented history of pest activity and prior treatment recommendations. Trends in activity should be noticeable. If the records indicate that specific monitoring devices are frequently active and the physical site assessment reveals a poor door maintenance program in that same area, the data will strengthen the recommendation to take immediate action to repair the doors.

The data can also be used to measure if previously implemented recommendations have resulted in a positive impact. For example, if the data indicates 30% pest activity in a specific area before the recommendations were implemented, the post-implementation data might reveal that changes made have eliminated any sightings or records of activity.

Assessments are a critical part of a healthy food plant IPM program. Regular, detailed physical assessments of the facility provide data that is compared to pest service records to determine the connections and look for trends occurring in the facility. If links can be made between documented events and observations made during the assessment, you will have a strong argument for making recommended improvements.

By Al St. Cyr

The author is Head of Food Safety Education, AIB International.

Food Safety - Bread on Racks

RacksofBread_FoodSafety

Organic Food Production

Pest activity can jeopardize any food production but organic production inherently has limited remedies to address and eliminate that activity, that's why prevention is imperative.

An effective pest management program in any facility requires three basic components, but is more critical in organic production:

1) Knowledgeable, well-trained pest management personnel. The key to a successful pest management plan is unequivocally the person who inspects the facility, manages any pest activity, and corrects any conditions which lead to pest activity.

2) The Pest Tech needs tools to be effect in their effort. They need a comprehensive management system with capabilities to:

a) record observations and analyze inspections to help identify trends and the the origin of any pest activity
b) warn if conditions or activity are abnormal
c) assist in reporting and correcting environmental deficiencies which are conducive to pest activity
d) a reporting system which provides all the needed audit/regulatory documentation

3) The full support and cooperation of the facility's management personnel, without this their effort will be doomed to at best mediocre success.

The U-Trap-It System is the system used to help protect more than 70% of the food produced in the U.S. from pest/rodent activity and from the diseases they carry.

Why is U-Trap-It so widely used? Simply put, there is no other system like the U-Trap-It System and the results of using the System clearly show the difference. In traditional production facilities (non-organic) the System has helped users achieve a significantly higher level of protection from pest activity while requiring up to 80% less pesticide to achieve that higher level of protection. These facilities had previously used either punch cards with Excel or other systems which were intended for residential pest management.

If the System can achieve that level of management in traditional production facilities then it clearly is superbly suited for organic production.

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Alerts and Corrective Actions

 

Alerts

In the highly-complex industrial pest management environment issues such as developing pest activity and environmental issues can sometimes go unnoticed, especially if personnel are relying on reading weekly service reports to become aware of a problem.

The U-Trap-It* System uses technology to take management of pest activity and environmental issues to the next level. An example of this is how the System automatically analyzes new inspections to determine if an increase in pest activity is occurring, if conditions are present which will lead to pest activity, or if even if a specfic condition has occurred which is deemed unacceptable. If the System finds any, it automatically notifies the user of the issue and where it exists. The pest technician can then easily record what action(s) was taken to correct the condition. If no action is taken then the Alert will stay active and the escalation system will continue to provide warnings of the open issue.

The System also helps to correct environmental deficiencies by initiating work orders for these issues to quickly and efficiently correct them when other plant departments may need to be involved.

These are a few of the U-Trap-It System capabilities which allow the U-Trap-It System user to proactively address pests using a commercially-feasible Intelligent Pest Prevention approach. Years of use and experience throughout the World give U-Trap-It System users the easiest-to-use and most sophisticated Industrial Pest Management System.

Audit Documentation

Having trouble with your audits?

The documents the U-Trap-It System produces meet or exceed audit requirements and you will be Audit Ready 24/7. The system provides documentation to comply with FSMA, HARPC, HAACP, and all food processing audit schemes. In fact, we get calls of thanks and we hear the sighs of relief from many new customers who were doing a good job of servicing before using the U-Trap-It System but were receiving poor "grades" for simply failing to provide the necessary documentation.

Audits are important but that's not what it's all about...

While the U-Trap-It System provides excellent reports and graphs including required trending reports to help document your program for audit and regulatory needs, it more importantly provides analytical tools such as visually dynamic floor plans and HotSpot* Technology (spatial analysis) to prevent and quickly eliminate any pest activity. Users tell us what is most important to them is that the System provides a solid methodical approach to help them achieve a higher level of pest elimination - Intelligent Pest Prevention.

Do you own your data?

Long-term availability of pest control service inspection data is now required in complying with FSMA. However, an often overlooked aspect of contract pest control service providers is that you may not have access to your data should you terminate the service provider's contract. Sound like a hostage situation? Sound devious? It should. You pay for their services and for the inspection data you pay them to collect. It should be yours. But, their contract many times stipulates that they own the electronic records if you terminate their contract. Unfortunately even if you were provided the data it would be useless without the original software which in many cases was created by them.

By using the U-Trap-It System you are in control. You can:

  1. Use a pest management company who uses the U-Trap-It System as their management system
  2. Purchase the System and service your own facility
  3. Or use a service provider who will enter the service information into your U-Trap-It System.

Finding a company that uses the U-Trap-It System is easy. The best pest management service companies use the U-Trap-It System because they know that it:

  • Provides the superior tools to help them diligently manage pests
  • Manages the issues which create conditions conducive to pest activity
  • And it keeps your facility audit-ready 24/7.

Take control of your pest management program with U-Trap-It. Controlling what should be yours is another reason many companies are now requiring the use of the U-Trap-It System.

Trending Capabilities

The ability to utilize pest trending capabilities has become an audit compliance requirement for a good reason. For the auditor, trending will clearly show whether or not the pest management service provider is actually doing what they are supposed to be doing - reducing and eliminating pest activity. Additionally, auditors understand that trending capabilities are a fundamental tool any service provider would use to stop pest activity. Simply put, if they are not using trending they aren’t performing Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

Trending has always been a fundamental part of IPM because of its value to understand and prevent pest activity. If your service provider claims they are providing an IPM level of service but they don’t have trending then how could they be providing IPM? Unfortunately with many service providers IPM is merely a sales slogan to close a sale because the customer wants to hear "IPM" due to the benefits of IPM. Those companies consider providing true IPM as being commercially unfeasible because it requires more attention to details than they are willing to provide or can manage using their old, traditional methods. They don’t use the U-Trap-It* System.

The U-Trap-It System easily collects the detailed level of information needed to perform true IPM. It manages any environmental deficiencies to ensure they are corrected. And, it also provides all your graphing and reporting needs. There are 6 core graphs and 47 core reports, each can be further customized to provide the exact information needed. 

U-Trap-It is the system which makes IPM/IPP (Intelligent Pest Prevention) commercially feasible. Is your service provider using the U-Trap-It System? Many companies are requiring it to be used in their facilities.

Client Login

Note: You must use Internet Explorer to access the U-Trap-It System.

If you need any help registering on this site, please call 972-938-7280. If System Access does not work for you, call us.

Passwords must have at least 1 digit and 1 Cap

Electronic Log Book

Let’s set the record straight!!

Some folks are claiming to have created the first electronic log book. That simply isn't true. The U-Trap-It System has had various forms of electronic log books since its inception twenty years ago.

The U-Trap-It System's current My Log Book/My Reports capabilities effortlessly provide electronic versions of all reports and graphs that have been generated by the U-Trap-It Report Auto-Generator. Access to My Log Book does not require a special application or special device. It can be accessed by any authorized user from anywhere in the World. And there aren’t any extra charges to use those capabilities. It's just one small part of the many management features the U-Trap-It System provides.

Note: While an electronic log book may sound environmentally friendly, realistically nearly all users still require a paper version for the actual log book in the plant management's office to quickly satisfy the auditor's needs. Rest assured, your My Log Book capabilities are also readily available should you need more; or just log in to the System to get the needed information.

Pathogens Carried by NYC Rodents

U-Trap-It Report Generator

ReportGeneratorFor those users who need information but don't want to login to run a report we have created the Automated Report Generator. This feature easily fulfills the user's need for information with the easiest and simplest solution - reports automatically run and emailed to them according to their desired schedule.

The Automated Report Generator enables the user to customize the delivery of reports and graphs. With it the user can create a Report Package combining different types of reports and/or graphs. The Report ReportsGenerator will automatically generate the report package in one PDF file and email it to one or more addresses.

Scheduling the auto-generation is easily controlled by the user. Once a report package has been scheduled it will auto-generate on the schedule frequency chosen. The emailed Report Package will also to made available in the user's My Log Book feature which is accessible on the website. If the client wishes to see more details or additional information they also have the ability to login to their U-Trap-It System and run an array of customizable reports and graphs at anytime.

For more information on this user-friendly feature please contact In-Quiz-It Software at 972-938-7280.

Tracks Factors Impacting Pest Management Efforts

Broken Loading Dock Door

InspectionsNo other method or system can compare to what the U-Trap-It System accomplishes. The U-Trap-It System is far more capable than a mere monitoring system used to record the date of pest control device inspections. To start, it gives the user the ability to easily and quickly capture far greater detail than would be possible by any other means. 

Industrial Pest Management involves a multitude of complex issues which can contribute to pest problems.  An important example of these are the many sanitation and maintenance issues which exist in all facilities. These are issues that could be jeopardizing pest management efforts and many times need to be resolved to successfully manage pests. With the U-Trap-It System these are easily recorded and the System helps ensure they are properly corrected too. 

U-Trap-It builds a team approach between the service provider and facility personnel to conquer tough industrial pest management issues by providing a communication channel. AgreementCommunication is the key ingredient in creating synergy to successfully establish a pest free environment.

Site Layouts and Floor Plans

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The U-Trap-It System can display a "macro view" of the service account (Site Layout) to provide an overall assessment of the conditions of the entire facility. This is an example of the System's "visually dynamic" analytical tools. The user can choose to spatially display many types of conditions and pest information on the Site Layout to gain a better understanding of the facility and where attention may be needed.

The System also has Floor Plans, also called Service Area Layouts, which display a detailed view showing the individual pest control monitoring devices. Floor Plans are another example of the System's "visually dynamic" analytical tools. Layouts can spatially display information (Specific Pest Type, Environmental Deficiencies, Pest Activity, and much more) during the time period the user wishes to examine.  This is an excellent tool to determine where pest activity may be originating and as a starting point for an inspection for its source.

The U-Trap-It* System provides these core capabilities:

Inspect All types of pest management devices, areas, and buildings.
Verify The System verifies that all pest management devices, areas, and buildings are inspected before leaving the serviced area. Inoperable or missing devices can easily be replaced.
Record The System records the Pest Environmental Data from the inspection of each pest management device, area, or building in greater detail than by any other means and stores the information in a useable form for later use.
Track U-Trap-It tracks the Pest Environmental Data from the inspection of each pest management device, area, and building including the status of sanitation and maintenance issues along with the status of any corrective actions. It also manages and tracks the use and change over of non-toxic bait usage.
Analyze The System can analyze the collected information for any time period. Incoming data is automatically analyzed for items that exceed thresholds and the user is notified of these issues.
Report The System generates feedback in the form of an extensive variety of reports, graphs, floor plans, and site plans(industrial version)/street mapping(municipal version) to fit the user's needs.

The U-Trap-It System ensures Pest Management Plan success. It is an essential management tool for

"When and Where Pest Management Matters"

From the Field to the Marketplace