data and food safety

How data and actionable insight is changing pest control to improve food safety

Currently, the global population is expected to reach 8.6bn by 2030. By 2050, it’s been predicted that we’re going to need a 70% increase in calories to feed that population. Yet still, huge quantities of food are wasted across the supply chain through contamination by pests, severe weather, or because goods are left to spoil or be discarded, amongst other factors.

Every year, pests cause enormous economic loss in the food and beverage processing industry. In addition to disruptions to the production process, decreased revenue and threats to health, safety and sanitary compliance, pest infestations can also lead to lasting loss of trust from customers and damage to brand reputation.

If things continue the way they are, this will soon become an increasingly unsustainable situation that stretches the capacity of the food industry to its limits. But what if there was a new way, based on intelligent ways of analysing data, that could start to solve these problems?

In the pest control industry, this is a possibility which we are actively pursuing right now. Using unrivalled insight, data and reporting, our digital pest control solutions help you proactively manage and prevent infestations 24/7.

Changes to data gathering is opening up new opportunities

Data is nothing new in pest control. It’s always been there in the form of various reports and documents. At Rentokil, for example, we have been gathering data for decades via thousands of our technicians who visit businesses, assess infestations and record their recommendations in reports.

The way that data is recorded is now changing. Our technicians are still visiting sites and recording information, but that information is now stored in myRentokil, a digital pest management reporting and analysis system that provides trend reporting, recommendations, interactive maps, charts and analytic tools that help support pest control measures and audits.

We are also generating data in new ways. Our Rentokil PestConnect solution, for example, is an ecosystem of connected traps that detect, capture or kill pests and alert our technicians when any activity has occurred.

With over 70,000 devices worldwide, the system helps to generate huge volumes of new data on pest behaviour in different food production environments and regions.

All pest activity detected by PestConnect devices is also recorded and uploaded to the secure myRentokil customer portal.

Generating real business benefits

The most important thing to recognise is that generating data is not in itself a solution. It’s the action you take from it that counts.

Data must be used to analyse root causes, predict future infestations and generate insight that informs planning and implementation of preventative measures. When that happens, there is clear evidence that tangible benefits follow.

Using drones for agricultural pest control

One such example comes from work that Rentokil has carried out in the agriculture sector, which also features a novel way of gathering data. We designed a bespoke drone fitted with thermal imaging technology to monitor a tomato plantation. The drone recorded critical data such as small changes in temperature to track and identity the movements of rodents.

This insight made it possible to then predict when rodents are likely to be present in the fields; target pest control measures more effectively; and ultimately prevent rodent hairs contaminating raw produce.

Using predictive data modelling to evaluate pest control risks

Another good example comes from the food retail sector, where we have partnered with a US supermarket chain to create predictive data models that evaluate a site for pest risk, create targeted solutions and even recommend changes in building design before a new store is built.

This kind of activity, we believe, is the future for a pest control industry that needs to evolve to become more informed by data insights, more proactive and more intelligent in the way that it helps to manage pests that impact food safety.

Using data and insight to improve pest control, reporting and regulatory compliance

Our digital pest control solutions provide businesses in the food processing sector an innovative solution to proactively control pest infestations whilst also providing superior data and knowledge to support reporting and regulatory.

We work with multiple food and beverage processing businesses across the globe manage their pest control activities to meet the increasingly complex food safety compliance requirements.

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Jack Lyons

I joined the Marketing and Innovation team at Rentokil in 2015, and my mind has quickly become accustomed to the weird and wonderful world of pests. Outside of work my main hobby is music, being a huge fan of bands such as Queen and Led Zeppelin as well as being an avid drummer.

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