A stored product pest infestation anywhere in the food chain can significantly impact the value of the food. Ecolab Pest Elimination’s Vice President of Operations for North America Greg Peelman explains why, and how your stored foods can be protected from source through transportation to retail.

1. What impact do stored product insects have on a food’s safety and quality?

Insects will damage stored commodities, particularly grains, seeds, and dry goods, through boring into and/or directly feeding on the food. They also will contaminate a vast array of stored products and their packaging with their feces, cast skins, dead bodies, or webbing in and around the foodstuffs. This feeding and contamination also can lead to significant economic loss and impact your brand reputation.

2. How can food be protected from these pests?

Stored food protection begins with preventive practices, such as sanitation, incoming goods inspection, and first-in/first-out rotation — in the bin, food plant, or retail warehouse. Monitoring with pheromone traps and visual inspection should be a regular part of the program to detect the first signs of insect presence or activity. If a problem is detected, professional treatment, such as fumigation, can be implemented to eliminate the infestation.

3. How does Ecolab’s recent acquisition of three pest service companies add value for customers?

Through its acquisition of Food Protection Services, Royal Pest Solutions, and Research Fumigation Company, Ecolab can now provide a full-range of stored product protection service, expanding its capability across the U.S., and providing complete service in the six main areas of the fumigation market including grain, seed, milling, food processing and manufacturing, warehouse and distribution centers, and import/export.

4. How does Ecolab protect stored foods throughout the food chain?

Ecolab has a robust portfolio of solutions that impact the value chain from seed to shelf. Recognizing that businesses throughout the chain deal with risk in different ways, we have solutions for customers who want to perform routine fumigation maintenance services as well as science-based protocols for spot treatment and fogging services. All of this is performed by our highly specialized employees who understand the rigor of working in the food and beverage industry.

5. What other pest services are important for food protection?

Food and beverage plants can maintain a pest-free environment with Ecolab’s comprehensive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program built on scientifically proven protocols. Ecolab can help you attain strong audit scores and provide business insights to improve results throughout all of your facilities. This proactive approach to pest elimination helps you meet the need for greater consistency and documentation in the face of increasing food safety risks.