Pest control in food production facilities and food factories is crucial if the production is not to be compromised.
Law Relating To The Hygiene Of Foodstuffs (EC 852/2004) And Association With Pest Control
The regulation in Europe is covered by EC 852/2004 which covers hygiene of foodstuffs. The law is quite clear in that it defines good food hygiene practices including protection against contamination and in particular, pest control. All windows and opening for example which can be opened to the outside are to be fitted, where necessary, with insect-proof screens. It covers the siting or premises, their designs and construction. how they should be kept clean and in good repair to avoid the risk of contamination, in particular by animals and pests. Finally, all refuse stores must be kept clean and free from animals and pests.
What Is A Food Pest ?
A food pest is any animal, bird or insect that lives in or on our food. They contaminate food and are destructive, noxious and troublesome. The main ways a pest contaminates food is by:-
- breeding in decaying matter
- feeding and often by vomiting back their previous meal
- defecation and faeces
- walking and running on work surfaces as well as the food
- laying eggs on uncovered foodstuffs
- dying and leaving dead bodies.
The Main Food Pests
Rodents are probably one of the worst and these include rats and mice. Insects would be a close second and they include mainly flies, wasps, stored product pests, cockroaches and finally various ants especially Pharoah’s Ant. The other general pests are birds especially pigeons, cats and dogs.
The Reasons For Pest Control
The main reasons for pest control are top prevent a number of issues especially contamination of food by bacteria and prevent physical contamination. One of the consequences is food poisoning and other diseases. It also means preventing food wastage, damage, loss of custom and reputation, no complaints and staff losses. It is also to be compliant with food law which is one of the main reasons.
To manage pest control requires an integrated pest management system. The most impactful is environmental control. It is possible to prevent access of pests to a food manufacturing and storage area using good design, maintenance, pest proofing and checking any deliveries. If you can also deny access to food generally or prevent what is called harbourage then pest control is rigorous. Denial means maintaining food housekeeping, keeping up good internal and external control of areas, adopting a clean-as-you-go policy which means keeping everywhere clean and tidy. It also means doing stock checks so that there is correct storage and using pest-proof containers. Finally, the staff must be trained to ensure the integrated pest management system operates properly.