The food industry is facing increasing pressure from consumers and regulators to improve food safety. Consumers are becoming more sophisticated in their demands of food suppliers while agencies ranging from FAO and WHO to national food safety agencies and health authorities are enforcing more stringent safety requirements.
New developments in the world of pest control technology are being introduced to help support these growing needs across the complex global food supply chain.
Growing consumer demands
Consumers in developed and developing economies are demanding an increasing range of foods sourced from all over the world; seasonal foods to be stocked on the shelves of food retailers all year round. Coupled with this, there is also a greater awareness of the nutrition, environment, sustainability and ethics of food production, putting far greater pressure on food suppliers and retailers.
Instant access to information means the empowered consumer can easily find information on the products they purchase; brands, ingredients, health trends and news. Which also means that any information – or misinformation – around food safety issues affecting suppliers, processors and retailers is now made readily available to consumers, all at the touch of a button.
Pressure from regulators
On the regulatory side, there is pressure, both internationally and locally, to improve food safety of global food supplies at all points along an increasingly complex supply chain. These supply chains can involve multiple growers, processors, transporters, ingredient and packaging manufacturers and storage sites in any part of the world. Even simple ingredients can now have complex supply chains with multiple handover points where risk can be introduced and errors become difficult to trace.
After several major food safety scares, such as melamine found in baby milk formula, horsemeat in beef products and numerous outbreaks of food-borne diseases such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, authorities have responded by tightening food safety requirements. Most significantly, major food importing and exporting countries such as the U.S. and China have now introduced the biggest changes to their food safety legislation in decades.
Legislation requires all businesses across the supply chain to take responsibility for ensuring all supplies, suppliers and products are safe and conform to standards. The data on causes of failure to comply with food safety standards, as compiled by BRCGS auditors, reveal that the most common cause of failure is in the space of basic hygiene, which includes: sanitation, cleaning, personal hygiene and pest management programmes.
Pest control technology steps in to help improve food safety
New pest control technology developed by Rentokil introduces IoT enabled devices which monitor, detect, capture, eliminate and report on pest activity. Connected traps send data through wireless technology to an integrated online reporting and analysis system on the cloud, allowing customers access to data and analysis on pest activity on their sites.
The same information is then combined with different data sets collected by Rentokil technicians across thousands of customer sites around the world to offer unprecedented insights into food safety.
PestConnect is an innovative digital pest control solution designed to detect or capture a variety of pests using connected traps, bait stations, and monitoring units. The devices are fitted with integrated sensors that detect a pest, activate the trap, and automatically triggers an alert to Rentokil. The Rentokil technician then schedules a priority visit, arrives on-site, surveys for signs of pest activity and recommends appropriate measures to improve the integrated pest management programme.
myRentokil is an online reporting and analysis portal which puts customers in control of their business’ pest management, 24/7. The online customer portal is available across multiple devices, offering access to pest activity information, recommendations, interactive floor plans and proof of service documentation to ensure they stay up-to-date with their pest management programme; providing a comprehensive audit trail to support rigorous internal and external audit standards across entire estates.
The power of data and insight to improve food safety
Data intelligence and recommendations that are gathered through our connected solutions have verified the importance of hygiene and sanitation. Through PestConnect and myRentokil data we have insights into pest incident observations and recommendations from 51,000 sites across 27 countries. These recorded pest incidents demonstrate that just over half of pest problems are caused by rodents, and a quarter by flying insects and interestingly, reinforce findings compiled by BRCGS auditors, as analysis reveal root causes to be a lack of hygiene and sanitation.
Our data gives us a strong indication of where businesses should focus when it comes to improving food safety. With digital pest control solutions, we are able to discreetly monitor pest incidences and hygiene compliance to give our customers recommendations on:
- the critical areas which require focus and improvement
- how to achieve compliance with food safety standards and legislation
- and most importantly, measures to improve safety for consumers