Pest infestations can cost businesses vast sums of money every year in damage repairs and lost business if the property was out of action. Without effective pest control for food business; pests can damage and contaminate food, gnaw through electrical cables and spread disease and parasites. As a food business proprietor it is YOUR responsibility to deal with pests effectively. The three main groups of pests that are encountered in food businesses are:
Rodents – rats and mice, etc.
Insects – cockroaches, beetles, ants, flies, etc.
Birds – pigeons, seagulls etc.
Regulation (EC) 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs states that “businesses must ensure that the layout, design, construction and size of food premises shall permit good food hygiene practices, including protection against cross contamination between and during operations by external sources of contamination such as pests.”
UK legislation also requires that adequate procedures are put in place to ensure pests are controlled & prevented. Setting up a pest control contract with a reputable pest control company is good practice; however it is important to remember that the ultimate responsibility for any pest problem lies with the proprietor of the food business.
It is also important to note that commercially available pest baits are not adequate for use in food businesses and can be a source of food contamination. The best way to deal with pests is to exclude them from your premises completely, which is possible in most cases. Even if you do not have a current pest problem, measures must be taken to ensure that pests have no way of entering the premises.
There are several common ways that rodents can enter a food business; gaps under external doors, gaps around pipes and cables, gaps hidden by suspended ceilings, doors and windows left open, uncovered drains and dry toilets, and cracks in walls and floors.
Remember that rats and mice are good at climbing and can access buildings at any level. They can also squeeze themselves through small spaces so any gaps or cracks, no matter how insignificant they may seem, must be filled in. Rodents tend to live in colonies so if you see one in your property, then you are bound to have many more!
It is particularly important to ensure that food debris does not build up underneath and behind equipment as rats and mice prefer dark environments that they can hide in. They will also always use the same route once they have found a safe way to get to any food debris.
You should regularly check for signs of infestation, even if you employ a pest controller, which may include rodent droppings on the floor, shelves and other surfaces, gnawed food packaging, greasy smears along the bottom of walls from rats running the same route repeatedly, and of course rodents themselves!
Under the new food safety legislation introduced in 2006; it is a legal requirement that all food premises must have a pest control system in place and that all food preparation areas must be proofed for potential pests. A breach of these regulations can result in a fine of up to £5000 and possibly a prison term of up to 2 years.
If you require commercial pest control in London, Kent or Essex then give us a call today on 0800 311 8767. We offer a professional and discreet pest control service, including mice and rat extermination across Kent, London and Thurrock so your business will be back up and running as soon as possible.