Over the years I have seen that growers have very close relationships with their pesticide suppliers. In many cases the supplier rep will scout fields, make emergency deliveries and will always be available to discuss pest control decisions that change from day to day and that can be complicated.
I would strongly urge you to build a similar relationship with one or more sanitation chemical supplier reps. The bias from a sanitation chemical supplier rep is built in to the deal just as it is with your pesticide supplier rep. A good rep will have your best interest as a top objective and you need to sort out the best supplier rep available in your area.
So here are my suggestions on a sanitation chemical supplier and your sanitation program:
1. Align yourself with one or two good suppliers that provide value-added services, i.e. assistance with SOPs, observation of sanitation practices, assistance with application equipment, assistance with verification of sanitation practices, etc.
2. Work towards a dedicated sanitation crew – schedule them to come in towards the end of a shift and start dry cleanup, e.g. empty trash cans, clean up around a dumpster, etc. A responsible and properly trained sanitation crew will have the place spotless before the next shift has to pack. You will need to train and identify working supervisor(s). Packing crews are too tired to do proper sanitation, other than maybe a quick dry cleaning and moving packaging, etc. away from sanitation zones.
3. Implement a strong sanitation monitoring program, i.e. ATP, equipment microbiological testing and environmental microbiological testing. This industry is exploding with new testing methods including quick tests. NPE can assist you with your monitoring program.
4. Implement a 2nd-party sanitation audit by an unbiased consultant who can review all of above and make recommendations.
I have a short list of sanitation chemical suppliers that I provide to clients. I can provide them to you and then you need to sort out which is best for you. I have no financial arrangements with them and definitely have my clients best interest as my top priority.
Contact me if you have any questions.