New Pest Control Policy in Provincially Licensed Meat Plants
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has implemented a pest control policy which contributes to maximizing food safety. The policy also ensures that a fair, consistent and timely approach will be taken by meat inspection staff in response to the presence or activity of pests, more particularly rodents within provincially licensed meat plants.
Pest presence or activity inside a meat plant poses a significant risk to food safety as they may lead to contamination of ingredients, packaging, food contact surfaces and food. Rodent presence or activity is problematic and requires immediate response. Evidence of rodent presence or activity includes droppings, sightings, noises, gnawing, grease marks, nesting and capture of rodents in traps.
Preparing a Written Program
It is a regulatory requirement for meat plants to implement and follow
a written pest control program to minimize the risk to food safety. An
effective program outlines how:
The pest control program should identify:
While an effective pest control program will help to control pests, some factors or circumstances, such as the following, can lead to rodent presence or activity:
Addressing Presence of Rodents in Plants
Even the best prevention program can fail in certain conditions, and despite pest control efforts, rodent presence or activity may be found within a meat plant. Meat inspection staff will consider the risk to food safety, in determining an appropriate response to rodent presence or activity. If at any point there is a risk to food safety, inspection staff will take compliance action to minimize this risk.
Inspection staff will also consider, among other things:
Where evidence of rodent presence or activity is found, meat inspection staff may allow the operations to continue after ensuring all areas of the plant showing evidence of rodent presence or activity are properly cleaned and sanitized.
Inspection staff will complete a follow-up inspection at the plant after 48 hours to determine if there is further evidence of rodent presence or activity. If no further evidence is found the operations may continue without interruption.
If further evidence of rodent presence or activity is found, inspection staff may allow the operations to continue after ensuring all areas of the plant showing evidence of rodent presence or activity are properly cleaned and sanitized prior to returning to service.
Inspection staff will then complete an additional follow-up inspection at the plant after 24 hours (i.e. 72 hours after initially finding evidence of pests) to determine if there is further evidence of rodent presence or activity. If no further evidence is found the operations may continue without interruption.
If further evidence is found, inspection staff will take compliance action which may include issuing a compliance order to stop operations in the affected areas of the plant until there is clear evidence that rodent presence or activity has ceased. Operations in the affected areas will only resume upon written area manager approval which will be granted when there is no evidence of rodent presence or activity, the plant is properly cleaned and sanitized and the compliance order is lifted.
While the pest control policy outlines a response by meat inspection staff to rodent presence or activity within provincially licensed meat plants, it remains the responsibility of plant operators to ensure they meet all the requirements of the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001 and Ontario Regulation 31/05, including the requirements for pest control.
OMAFRA meat inspection staff are committed to working with meat plants to provide education to operators and feasible options to achieve compliance.
Resources Available to Operators
Meat Plant Guidelines C9.06.07.01 Pest Control Program
The pest control policy is available online to members of the Ontario Independent Meat Processors (OIMP) at www.oimp.ca.
To request a copy of the pest control policy, contact OMAFRA at 1-877-424-1300 or email@example.com.
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Local: (519) 826-4047