Making a Big Impact on Small Flies in Australia

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Insight and Investigation

A potato processing plant in Victoria, Australia, had noted ongoing small fly pressure in their plant facilities. After the plant failed an audit, they brought in the Ecolab Pest Elimination team to investigate the issues. 

The Ecolab Pest Elimination team brought in the Ecolab Food and Beverage division, taking a collaborative approach to investigating and addressing both sanitation and pest issues within the plant. This included a thorough examination of the plant facilities, as well as a review of the existing sanitation practices, including the plant’s SSOPs (standard sanitation operation procedures) and frequency on the MSS (master sanitation schedule). Together, Ecolab identified that the plant had a great deal of water and organic waste that was routinely disposed through drains, making proper sanitation and prevention especially challenging.

Additionally, the Ecolab teams identified structural issues within the drains that increased the need for meticulous sanitation. These challenges were facilitating an ongoing and increasing small fly issue in the plant. Small flies present much more than a nuisance to the plant. Small flies are known to have an association with bacteria and other microorganisms in the substrates in which they live and feed, and Ecolab research demonstrates that small flies are capable of transferring E. Coli, Salmonella and Listeria to surfaces. Their presence presents a potential food safety risk to the plant.

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Based on this investigation, the Ecolab Pest Elimination team took immediate action to mitigate the rising small fly pressure, including performing corrective actions to address broken and missing drain covers, and performing additional treatments to rapidly reduce small fly activity. The Ecolab Food and Beverage team revised the plant’s SSOPs and MSS, increasing the frequency and comprehensiveness of the plant’s drain-cleaning procedures. Ecolab then conducted a joint training for all of the plant staff on the new SSOPs and MSS.

Ecolab provided targeted actions and improvements to rapidly reduce small fly activity by over 500%.

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Ecolab provided targeted actions and improvements to rapidly reduce small fly activity by over 500%. Using the updated SSOPs and MSS — including more frequent and rigorous drain cleaning — the plant has sustained that reduction for over 16 consecutive months. In fact, recent data shows small fly activity trending further downward. The dramatic reduction in small fly activity represents an equally significant improvement from a food safety perspective.

By addressing the root cause of the problem —removing the bio-matter and biofilm in drains — together, the Ecolab teams removed the key small fly breeding ground and eliminated a dangerous source of pathogenic microorganisms. The success of this initiative sparked an internal culture change around sanitation at that particular plant, as well as around drains across their global network. The company asked Ecolab to develop a training piece on small fly food safety to share and further embed new practices in the plant culture.

The Results

Improved SSOPs and MSS

Reduced small fly activity by 500%

Maintained reduction in small fly activity for 16 CONSECUTIVE MONTHS

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