Pest control in organic certified facilities requires a specialist approach to take account of the organic nature of the commodity. Just as non-organic facilities need to be protected from pests, so do organic certified facilities. Certified organic facilities are just protected in a different way.
You need a partner that knows how to create an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program customized for your facility and tailored to the needs of a certified organic facility. IPM focuses on helping prevent the conditions that attract pests in the first place. This philosophy fits hand-and-glove with organic production. To enhance that program, your pest control should offer sustainable services and products that support efforts to lessen environmental impact.
Check out these five things you should know about pest control services at certified organic facilities:
- Not all pest control providers can (or should) provide services to organic facilities.
When choosing a pest control provider, it’s important to know that not all providers can offer service to organic facilities. To offer these services, the provider must have extensive knowledge of and experience with the organic certification process. It is critical that you choose an experienced provider that understands all protocols to ensure rules and regulations of organic production are consistently being followed. Having a Preventative Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) certified provider is always a plus.
- Organic products do not have to be stored, or manufactured, in an entirely organic facility.
A common misconception is if you are storing or manufacturing organic products, they must be stored in a facility that holds solely organic products. This is false. You can store or manufacture organic products in a facility with non-organic products if they are kept in their designated area. Your pest control provider should have the knowledge and experience to offer a comprehensive treatment plan based on the different needs and sections of your facility. A pest control provider who can train your team on what they need to do to protect your product is critical to success in partially organic facilities.
- Organic does not always mean 100% free of non-chemical treatments.
Many consumers believe that when they see an “organic” label, it means the product has not had chemical treatments used on or around them. Although your pest control provider must leave the use of chemical treatments as a last resort, it’s important to know there are government approved active ingredients (in pesticides), when non-chemical solutions have failed in keeping pests away. Working with your Organic Certifying Body and pest control provider will ensure you stay within the organic standards of your country and countries you might export to.
- Organic programs must be in place for a lead in period prior to certification.
For a full facility, or portion, to qualify for certified organic status, facilities must have their organic pest control programs in place for a lead in period, based on the standards of the Organic Certifying Body they are using. In our experience, this could be up to six months. Because of this, it is imperative that your pest control provider is an experienced partner with organic facilities and understands the processes and requirements of organic certification, including documentation and inspection. Record keeping is essential in demonstrating compliance with this requirement.
- Not all Organic Certifying Bodies (OCBs) consider the exterior of the facility part of the certification process.
A pest control provider experienced in certified organic facilities will guide you to ask the OCB whether the exterior of the facility will be included in the organic certification process. Some OCBs include the exterior while others do not. You will want to choose a pest control provider who ensures rules and regulations are being followed where they need to be.
Keeping pests away, especially from organic goods, is not an easy task. That’s why it’s important to choose the right pest control provider to help you throughout every step. With all regulations, paperwork and records required for organic certification, you want a partner you can trust to not let any detail slip through the cracks.
Learn more about Rollins Brands Orkin and IFC at GFSI 2022
Go for the gold standard in pest control and visit the Orkin and IFC Stands (11 & 12) at the 2022 GFSI Conference. Don’t forget to join Orkin and IFC’s special session on March 29 from 11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. where Food Safety Magazine’s Editor, Adrienne Blume, will moderate a panel with Rollins Vice President of Quality Assurance and Technical Services Judy Black and Coca-Cola’s Food Safety Specialist Ana Caroline Barbosa, where they will share their experience on how pest traceability can help protect your international supply chain.