All businesses that prepare or serve food have a responsibility to control pests. This is due to the serious health risks posed by the presence of pest species. Rats and mice are known to be carriers of more than 30 diseases that are dangerous to humans. Insects, such as cockroaches, also carry a number of diseases, bacteria and viruses that can cause illness.
Further risks of a pest infestation include reputational damage, property damage, damage to staff morale and even prosecution and closure. As such, it is vitally important for all business that handle, store or serve food to actively prevent pest infestations in order to maintain a high standard of food safety and to protect customers, staff and reputation.
Making a pest control checklist for the food industry will help you ensure you are taking adequate pest control provisions and comply with the law.
Contracting Pest Control Professionals
The most important thing any business in the food industry can do is employ the services of a professional pest control contractor. Pest control professionals understand pest control procedures in the food industry inside and out.They will be able to design a bespoke programme that covers your entire site – including the perimeter and storage areas – that takes into account the layout, design and particular areas of risk.
They will also be expert in the strict rules and regulations relating to food preparation, handling and storage, such as the Food Standards Act 1999 and the Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations, which lay down requirements for adequate pest control. Once an initial inspection and risk assessment is carried out and any pests currently present dealt with, the focus will be on preventing any further ingress of pests.
The first thing to cover on a pest control checklist for the food industry, therefore, relates to the partnership formed with the pest control contractor. Important items to include on your checklist:
- Do you have access to the pest control contract?
- Do you have access to an emergency contact number?
- Is there an up-to-date pest control plan provided by the contractor that all staff have access to?
With a robust contract in place, you can be sure that your pest control system is informed by and designed with the specific needs of your business in mind. The plan should indicate the staff training required so that they can spot signs of infestation. In addition, the plan should make it clear who employees must report to should any signs of infestation be discovered.
As such, here are two further items to include on your checklist:
- Is employee training conducted so all members of staff know how to spot the signs of pest activity?
- Do employees know who to report to should they discover signs of infestation?
Management and Investigation
Your business is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all pest control solution to suit every business in the food industry. Your pest control contractor will help you design a pest control checklist that is tailored precisely to your business’ requirements.
There are, however, certain criteria that all pest control checklists for the food industry should contain. These can be broken down into two categories – management of the physical premises and investigating for evidence of pests.
Management of the Premises
- Are all foodstuffs covered and stored in sealed, pest-proof containers?
- Are all food containers stored off the floor?
- Are internally located rubbish bins clean and covered?
- Are all internally located rubbish bins emptied and removed from the premises on a daily basis?
- Are all food spillages, liquid spillages and other debris cleaned up quickly?
- Is the premises thoroughly cleaned and swept before closing at night?
- Are all hard-to-reach places (under sinks, fridges, shelving units, etc.) cleaned on a regular basis?
- Is all food waste and other rubbish properly cleaned away from the outside of the building?
- Are externally located rubbish bins clean and securely covered?
- Are all doors, windows and other openings to the outside of the building tightly fitted?
Investigating for Evidence of Pests
- Is there evidence of rodent or insect droppings?
- Are chew marks visible on any boxes or storage containers?
- Is there any gnawing damage to the building, including wood, metals and masonry?
- Is there evidence of nesting, such as shredded soft materials like paper and cardboard?
- Are there any greasy smear marks along walls and skirting boards?
- Is there evidence of footprints or tail prints anywhere inside or outside of the building?
- Are there squeaking sounds, gnawing sounds or sounds of movement in walls, storage rooms, cupboards or ceilings?
- Is there a lingering, unpleasant smell that could indicate a cockroach infestation?
- Are any shed cockroach skins discovered during cleaning routines?
- Have there been any actual sightings of pests, rodent or insect, alive or dead?
Build Your Pest Control Checklist for the Food Industry
Pest control is of paramount importance for all businesses in the food industry.
Contracting a professional pest control company will help you implement robust pest control procedures that keep your premises, customers, staff and reputation safe. The company will also help you form a pest control checklist designed specifically for your premises so you can be sure you are taking the correct measures to prevent infestation at all times.
At Baroque Pest Services part of Safeguard, we have over 30 years’ experience designing and implementing affordable bespoke pest control solutions for businesses in the food industry. Our pest control service begins with a free consultation and risk assessment. We will then tailor a commercial pest control contract that suits your business’s precise needs.
Baroque Pest Services serves all kinds of industries including: Bars, Pubs, Cafés, Restaurants, Hotels and B&Bs, as well as Nursing Homes, Factories, Warehouses and Organic Farms. Contact your local pest control specialist today for a free quotation.