Most of the posts on this blog are concerned with domestic services. But pest control is just as important – if not more so – in commercial premises. In fact, it’s of paramount importance anywhere that food is produced for public consumption. That can be anything from the smallest coffee shop to care homes, to the biggest manufacturing plant.
The problem is that in the food industry, pests pose numerous problems. From the pure unpleasantness of having bugs or rodents in or around food, to the potential for spreading illness and disease on a large scale. There’s even the possibility of damage to property as seals and wires chewed and urine soaks into unacceptable places. Poor standards can lead to your business being closed by the FDA. Or, at the very least, a loss of customers as a bad reputation get about. So, what do you need to know about controlling pests on your premises?
The Most Common Pests in the Food Industry
Rats and Mice
Rodents are an issue in the food industry for obvious reasons. They carry various diseases that are transmittable to both other animals and humans. Rodents are incredibly destructive and will eat through practically everything other than solid metal. They urinate and defecate freely – often where they eat. And they are hungry. The brown Norway rat, which is found throughout the contiguous 48 states wherever humans live, eats up to 10% of its body weight everyday. That’s a whole lot of food waste.
‘Roaches are literally everywhere. There’s only one continent on Earth – Antarctica – where they don’t thrive. In every other country, they are a problem. Especially in the food industry. They contaminate food and working areas with feces and regurgitated foods, spreading both diseases and allergens. If you see just one cockroach on your food production premises you need to call for expert help and arrange a deep clean.
Flies are another of those creatures that can be found all over the world. And we mostly ignore them as an unavoidable irritation. But where there’s food, they can become a serious problem. Why? Because they can carry multiple organisms and bacteria on their legs, which they then transmit to any food that they land on. They can also lay eggs virtually anywhere, which could leave your kitchen brimming with maggots. And mmmmm, nothing speaks of tasty cooking quite like a kitchen full of maggots.
Ants carry and transmit bacteria and diseases in much the same way as flies. Any food that has come into contact with ants needs to be immediately disposed of before it can become a serious health and safety issue for your business. Then you need to find out where the ants are coming from and how you can remove them from your premises.
There are also numerous food-specific ‘pantry pests’, from meal moths to flour beetles. You must ward against them and remove immediately, if you find them.
How to Protect Your Business from Pests and What to do if You Find Them
If you’re working in the food industry, you’ll already know the importance of maintaining a high degree of hygiene. Not just where the food is prepared, but where it is stored and where it is disposed of. Waste areas need to be properly maintained to deter rats, mice and cockroaches. Windows and doors need to be properly sealed, with fly screens in place if ventilation is an issue. Staff need to be aware of the signs – droppings, unusual odors and bite marks – so that action can be taken at the earliest sign of trouble.
If you have discovered a pest problem in your workplace, it’s important to get it resolved quickly. Especially if you’re working with food. The sooner a pest is dealt with the less chance it has of causing greater problems – or spreading disease.
Noosa Pest Management provide a range of tailored commercial pest control services. Where possible, we use botanical solutions, so that we’re not just replacing one problem with another for your business – deep cleaning away noxious chemicals is as much of a pain as deep cleaning away animal contamination. And we don’t use a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, preferring to tackle every problem individually. That way, we can find the best solution for every customer.
If you would like advice or support in handling pests in your food production business, please just get in touch: 704-499-9922.