Pest Control to Ensure Food Safety, Part 2

Good housekeeping practices are very important to prevent pest infestation. Tightly fitting lids on bins ensure pests are not attracted to the property. Regular maintenance on the outside of the building is important to ensure that no holes or cracks allow entry of the pests into the building to compromise food safety.

Ensure all foodstuffs are placed in pest proof containers will help with this prevention. It is also preferable to make sure that any external vegetation such as grass, do not come up to the building structure. A pavement or pathway extending at least a metre from the building will further help in pest prevention.

Other ways of preventing access is by keeping doors and windows closed.

Always check for wear and tear of doors especially around framework and the bottom of the door. A brush or rubber strip might have to be fitted where the door doesn’t go straight to the floor. Check the pipework or plumbing to ensure no holes or cracks are present which would allow pest entry. Check the condition of the window framework for for cracks and holes. Doors and windows can be left open for additional ventilation provided that devices are utilised to prevent entry. This includes internal or external insect screens on windows and hanging chain curtains on doors.

There are two methods of control pests.

We can use a physical or chemical methods. The preferred method of control is to use physical methods, which includes electronic fly killers, traps, sticky flypaper is also used and mist netting which is used to prevent birds entering the premises. The last preferred method is the use of chemicals such as rodenticides and insecticides. By using physical methods we ensure capture, either alive or dead. Chemical methods are not preferred for several reasons.

  • Chemicals pollute the environment.
  • If small business users, use chemicals, there is the possibility of contaminated food product, especially if the owner does not know how to handle the poisons. Rodenticides come in two types, acute acting and chronic acting.
  • Acute acting poisons act quickly and the rodent might die in an unreachable place. Chronic acting poisons take longer to kill rodents. If a female rat is pregnant after ingesting a chronic poison, and gives birth before dying it is likely that the baby rats will be immune to the same poison if used again, due to genetic mutation.

There are four things that must be done if pests are recognised on the premises:

  1. inform manager or supervisor
  2. dispose of contaminated food
  3. protect any other food that has not been contaminated by placing in pest proof containers
  4. contact pest control.

It is imperative that all food businesses, regardless of size, have pest control contracts. This, however, does not absolve the owner, management or staff of their responsibilities to check for signs of pest infestation.

For more information on pest control go to Food Safety