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McCloud Services, a leading pest management company servicing Illinois as well as Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, is bringing awareness to the importance of proper transport of processed foods and raw commodities during the summer months as pest infestations are more likely to increase during these times, which can impact food quality and consumer health.
Several factors contribute to the heightened awareness of food safety throughout the chain of custody, such as The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the creation of more stringent auditing schemes, and growing media attention around food borne illnesses directly affecting consumers. Pest infestations during transport can corrupt food quality when left unchecked, can infest the food facilities to which they are delivered, and can create significant waste when the quality of food has been sacrificed.
“Proper transportation of food items is often times overlooked, and transportation directly impacts issues such as spoilage, pest infestation, packing integrity, and food quality. Whether the delivery system is by rail, waterway, or road, recognition of possible pitfalls and the implantation of best practices will yield a better product and reduce risk to the consumer,” says Jeffry Jones, fumigation manager for McCloud Services.
There are many conditions through transport channels that can put products at risk for pest infestation. Some of those scenarios include:
- Transporting products in seasonally high temperatures or in warmer climates
- Understanding the delivery line on lengthy shipping times of imports at the port
- Shipment routes and handling that require product to stay on a vessel, ground transport, or railcar longer than necessary
- Shipment of goods conducive to pest activity — flour, corn, wheat, and most dried food products
- Products not packaged in metal, heavy plastic containers, or tightly closed glass
- Unsanitary conditions or infestation present on transport vehicle
Proper prevention of pest infestations include the use of fumigants authorized by the federal government and having a proper plan in place to predict pending problems, acting swiftly when an issue does occur, having efficient routing systems in place, managing inventories to eliminate surplus, and preventing challenges with susceptible products by strategic fumigation principles.