Pests are a major hazard, particularly in the food industry, and it’s critical to have a proper pest control system to deal with them.
These unwanted guests pose a serious threat to consumer health and cause financial losses when damaging food products and property. Food establishments serve as an ideal habitat for pests due to food and shelter, which allows them to live and reproduce.
It’s therefore important to learn about control measures to eliminate these unwanted beings. And in this guide today, we’ll look into the most common types of pests, the problems they cause, and how to deal with them.
So, without wasting much time, let’s get going!
5 Common Types Of Pests
The kinds of pests you’ll deal with depending on the geography, climate and food items stored in your facility. However, some pests exist in food facilities worldwide, like cockroaches, rodents, flies, birds and ants.
Cockroaches are labelled as the “most disgusting or hated pests”, and there’s a genuine reason behind that. These pests carry a range of bacteria, parasitic worms and human pathogens, including Salmonella Typhi, Entamoeba histolytica and polio. And these can cause some serious illnesses in people.
Plus, their legs pick up debris and germs from unclean places and transfer them to food equipment, food and workstations, thereby increasing contamination risks.
Rodents, including rats and mice, are also one of the major problems in the food industry.
Although it’s much easier to detect a rodent infestation, it can be perilous if it is not detected early enough. Apart from food, they damage food containers, electrical equipment, packaging and machinery. Their urine, droppings, and fur transmits hazardous parasites into the air and increases considerable health risks for consumers and employees.
Flies are another category of pests that carry various harmful pathogens. They mainly breed in moist, decaying and unsanitary environments and sit on fresh foods, thereby transferring harmful microorganisms. Consuming such contaminated food poses several health risks to both consumers and employees.
Birds can be a major nuisance in food facilities, as harmful bacteria or fungi attach themselves to a bird’s body, which gets transferred into food items or equipment. Plus, they tend to build their nests in gutters, interfering with the drainage supply. Larger birds even dislodge roof tiles, and their droppings are toxic and can harm an individual’s health.
These tiny species enter a production facility through small holes or openings and are found in most food manufacturing plants or warehouses worldwide. Once a facility is invaded, they leave a pheromone trail for other ants of their colony to follow. And ants can contaminate and potentially destroy any food source.
Problems Caused By Pets In Food Industry
As we already know, pests are annoying creatures that damage the food stored in a facility and transfer harmful microorganisms that pose substantial health hazards. Let’s discuss these problems in detail.
1. Physical Damage
If you fail to deal with a pest infestation, it damages your property. Pests feed upon the food items stored in your facilities, which need to be thrown away, including kitchen equipment and containers. Apart from that, birds and rats can damage equipment or bite into the electrical wirings, adding further financial losses.
2. Loss of Employees, Customers, And Business Closure
Pests carry several diseases along with them, which can cause your customers and employees to get sick. Irrespective of what measures you take, customers will feel reluctant to purchase products from a manufacturer whose products have affected their health on the previous occasion. It, in turn, damages your brand image or reputation among customers.
On the other hand, employees’ productivity can severely be affected, leading to a shortage of experienced staff and production. Some employees may be forced to resign due to unfavourable working conditions. Even after that, if you fail to take any suitable actions, the situation might worsen and eventually lead to your business’s closure.
Health authorities may perform surprise or scheduled inspections to check the hygiene of your establishment. And unsanitary conditions can cause you to pay hefty fines or even lead to the prosecution of your business.
Commercial Pest Control
As per the Food Safety Standards in Australia, all food establishments should have an effective pest control system.
Having a continuous and effective pest control programme prevents rodents, birds, insects or other vermin from infesting the surrounding areas of your establishment. Your employees must be trained and proactive in looking for evidence of infestation like dead or alive pests, smell, pest droppings, smear marks, wall discolouration, etc. They should immediately report to the concerned authority in case of any such finding.
If your food facility is infested, it needs to be treated with chemical, physical or biological agents. These involve substantial risks and must be carried out under the direct supervision of trained authorities with a thorough understanding of the procedure. They will inform you about precautions to be taken, the correct procedure to use them, and how to deal with pests in case of future infestations effectively. Besides, you should often conduct pest control inspections at your commercial premises.
Food Safety & Pest Control
A few things need to be kept in mind when carrying out pest control activity in your food production facility. Firstly, use only those pesticides or agents that have been approved to be used in a food processing plant. You can recognise them by the imprinted standard (AS 2507-1984).
Secondly, the person spraying the pesticide should be from a competent authority, and you must take care to avoid any pesticide contamination of equipment. And once the process is complete, thoroughly wash the equipment before using them.
We always recommend hiring a licensed pest control company for prevention and infestation. For many years, GC Pest Control has been servicing many commercial properties in South East Queensland. Flexible schedules allow our team to work around your business needs. So, call us today for a quote!
That’s it for today. Goodbye and see you soon!