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Pest control legislation affecting the hospitality industry

Businesses in the hospitality industry are expected to actively control pests under both food safety law and health and safety law. There is a duty of care to provide a safe environment for employees, customers, contractors and other people. Businesses are therefore expected to employ qualified pest control professionals and to use safe and legal pest management methods.

Food hygiene law and pest control in the hospitality industry

For kitchen and restaurant areas within the hospitality industry, there is specific legislation regarding food safety. This generally has broad requirements for preventing contamination by pests under general hygiene and sanitation practices to prevent contamination of food.

Food business operators are required to as far as possible prevent animals and pests from causing contamination by taking adequate measures, as appropriate.

Regulation (EC) No 852/2005, EUhyiene of food stuffs


In restaurants and other areas of  the hospitality industry where food comes into the equation, businesses need to implement Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) to ensure the effective management of food safety hazards.

Within the HACCP there are a number of principles which reference the need for pest management solutions to be in place which include:

  • regular monitoring and inspection for signs of pests and any situation that may increase the risk of pest infestations
  • action taken to control the pests or remove the source of risk of infestation
  • keeping records of incidences of pests and measures used to prevent, monitor and control pests

Food premises

The layout, design, construction, siting and size of food premises must permit good food hygiene practices, including pest control. Food premises should be kept clean and maintained in good condition to prevent pest infestations.

Handling and storage of foodstuffs

Raw materials, ingredients and prepared foods must be kept in appropriate conditions that protect them from pests. Adequate procedures must also be in place to prevent pests accessing areas where food is prepared, handled or stored.

Food waste

Badly stored food waste attracts pests as it provides them with a suitable food source as well as a place to harbourage, introducing an increased risk of contamination.

In order to prevent the risk of pests and contamination, the legislation specifies that food waste must be removed from all rooms where food is present and quickly disposed of. Additionally, it must be stored in the appropriate containers and areas as well as cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis to prevent pests.

US food safety legislation for hospitality businesses

Local agencies at state, city, county and tribal levels regulate food handling in smaller businesses including hotels and restaurants and catering services. The Food Code (produced jointly by the FDA, CDC and USDA) is offered as a reference document for local agencies to regulate food safety.

As we have discussed before, when food safety comes into play, pest control must be addressed to reduce the risk of contamination. Below are several instances in the Food Code which apply to the hospitality industry in reference to pest control.

Outer openings

Outer openings to food establishments should have measures to prevent the entry of insects and rodents by:

  • closing holes and gaps along floors, walls, and ceilings
  • closed, tight-fitting windows
  • solid, self-closing, tight-fitting doors

Perimeter walls and roofs

The Code states that these should effectively protect the premises from the weather and the entry of insects, rodents, and other animals.

Pest control

The food establishment should maintain the premises free of insects, rodents, and other pests by:

  • inspection of deliveries of food and supplies
  • routine inspection of the premises for pests
  • if pests are found, use accepted methods of control, including removal of dead or trapped pests in suitable ways
  • eliminating harbourage
  • remove dead or trapped pests from control devices at a frequency that prevents their accumulation, decomposition or the attraction of other pests.

Use of pesticides

Poisonous materials must be stored so they cannot contaminate food, materials or equipment. Poisonous materials used for pest control must be suitable for use in a food establishment and used according to:

  • pesticide law
  • the manufacturer directions
  • the Food Code
  • conditions of certification for use of the pest control materials; and
  • any conditions established by a regulatory authority.

The pesticide must be applied in an approved way that prevents hazards to employees or other persons and prevents contamination due to drip, drain, fog, splash or spray on food, materials and equipment.

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