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Inspection Before Assumption

Mouse droppings were found in a processing area during an audit. While a position that no producer wants to be in, the pest elimination Service Specialist’s inspection served up an unexpected twist…

You’ve decided to add a few natural and organic products to your offerings and an auditor has arrived to check out the line. Although he finds your processes to be compliant with the standards, he also finds mouse droppings in a processing area. Your pest elimination Service Specialist is generally onsite for audits, but this auditor arrived unannounced, so you had not known to call them in. This was just the case for a rice producer—with an unexpected twist …

As the Service Specialist tells it:

As soon as I got a call from the facility’s QA manager, I headed over the plant. I joined the team in the conference room and was informed of all the details: where the droppings were found, how many, etc. I gathered the plant’s pest control records—sighting log, multi-catch trap counts, trend reports, and observation reports— and reviewed these with the auditor and the QA team. The logs showed no catches in that room in the last 12 months and no observations or notes in the sighting logs.  

So, the next step was to inspect the area; however, the droppings and area had already been cleaned up, but I was able to find a few under a cabinet. Upon inspection, I found them to be long, thin, black, and very hard; breaking one in half showed it to be white inside, which told me all I needed to know.

I returned to the room with a small bag of the droppings (which the QA manager was not happy to see). I explained where I had found them and the investigation I did on them—then told them that there should be no deductions on the audit—as there is no violation for burnt rice!
The lesson here: proper identification of any assumed pest activity is the first step in a pest management strategy. Not to mention the advantages that having your Service Specialist on-site during an audit can provide!

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