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10 ways to ensure food safety

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10 ways to ensure food safety

For decades, Rentokil has been helping food processors, manufacturers, retailers and foodservice providers, adhere to the necessary food safety standards and regulations across the entire global food supply chain.

Here are ten ways in which Rentokil can help your food business ensure that the highest standards in food safety are upheld:

1. Pest control

Pest control plays a crucial part in food safety.

Troublesome insects, such as cockroaches and flies, can spread foodborne diseases by contaminating food at any stage of the production process. Rodents also spread diseases as well as causing damage to buildings, fixtures and machinery. Stored product insects can damage and contaminate food during transport and storage.

Investing in pest control monitoring and detection can help prevent pests from entering a food processing establishment, thereby assisting in the compliance of food safety.

Rentokil understands how crucial it is for food businesses to adhere to and comply with the stringent food legislation, compliance and regulations.

The consequences of a potential pest infestation affecting a food processing plant could lead to:

  • Damaged goods and loss of production;
  • Lost sales due to production loss;
  • Product recalls;
  • Low audit score;
  • Damage to the brand reputation, which could potentially lead to lost orders and sales;
  • Prosecution for failure to comply with food safety law.

2. Waste management

The BRC Global Standards for Food Safety provides guidelines for waste management to meet the correct food safety regulations, which states:

“Waste disposal shall be managed in accordance with legal requirements and to prevent accumulation, risk of contamination and the attraction of pests.”

If food waste is accumulated, it could attract pests to areas where food waste is stored, thereby bringing about the possibility of pest infestations.

This can be prevented with the provision of appropriate containers; suitable, secure waste storage areas and establishing adequate procedures for waste removal.

This, in turn, can reduce the risks of pests contaminating the ingredients, equipment and products stored.

3. Cleaning programmes

Establish cleaning and disinfection programmes to ensure the correct hygiene standards are met and reduce the risk of a food-borne illness outbreak.

This includes properly cleaning and disinfecting food preparation areas as well as machinery and utensils used within the food processing cycle to eliminate the microorganisms that cause food poisoning.

Adhering to the correct cleaning processes will also reduce the risk of pests - such as rodents, flies and cockroaches - in food preparation and processing areas by removing potential food sources and insect-breeding sites.

Learn how Rentokil helped Elopak comply with the proper food safety requirements using our myRentokil pest reporting and analysis system.

4. Maintenance

Establish proactive maintenance measures for premises and food processing machinery to ensure that these run smoothly, properly and safely during food production.

Pests, such as rats and mice, can affect the way in which machines perform, gnawing at the power cables and contaminating the components that have direct contact with the products.

5. Personal hygiene

Another important way to ensure that food safety requirements are met is to provide your staff with access to the correct facilities for them to conduct proper personal hygiene practices.

Bacteria can easily be spread through biological and physical contamination. This can put food at high risk of carrying food-borne diseases.

According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the UK,  all food-handling businesses are to ensure that factors, e.g. handwashing, minimising hand contact with food, personal cleanliness, wearing protective clothing, excluding ill staff, etc. are considered to ensure personal hygiene.

6. Environmental hygiene

Food processing facilities rely on the use of potentially dangerous chemicals for sanitation and pest control.

This is why attention must be given to reduce the risk of accidental environmental contamination across all the stages in the food processing cycle. This includes ensuring that the chemicals stored and used on the premises do not contaminate the food products at any stage.

7. Correct handling, storage & transport

On top of food production and preparation, food safety also has to be applied during handling, storage and transportation, for both incoming deliveries and products going out to customers.

A range of factors needs to be considered during these stages to ensure food products do not become contaminated. These include:

  • the temperature, humidity and hygiene of operations sites, vehicles and containers;
  • safety and risk mitigation in the areas where food products are packaged
  • cybersecurity for any digital software used to organise, monitor and respond to logistical processes.

8. Facilities location and design

According to the BRC Global Standards, a food processing facility "shall be suitable size, location and construction, and be maintained to reduce the risk of contamination and facilitate the production of safe and legal finished products.”

To reduce the risk of contamination,  the facility should not be located in areas that are known to be hotbeds for pests, nor should the location and its surrounding areas have dense pollution levels.

9. Machinery and production line design

According to the Equipment Design Task Force at The American Meat Institute, there are 10 principles for the sanitary design of machinery used in food processing:

  1. Cleanable to a microbiological level
  2. Made of compatible materials
  3. Accessible for inspection, maintenance, cleaning and sanitation
  4. No product or liquid collection
  5. Hollow areas hermetically sealed
  6. No niches
  7. Sanitary operational performance
  8. Hygienic design of maintenance enclosures
  9. Hygienic compatibility with other plant systems
  10. Validate cleaning and sanitizing protocols

Poor design can result in the build-up of food material in hidden places that are difficult to clean - and therefore can become attractive for pests.

The layout of the production line should allow easy maintenance and cleaning of machinery and surrounds and prevent contamination of the food products and ingredients during the production process.

10. Staff training

Educating staff on how to ensure food safety practices are followed will help reduce the risk of food contamination. Regulations require that all staff handling food are supervised and trained in food hygiene practices that are commensurate with their work activity.

Areas which staff should be trained about include:

  • Hand hygiene
  • Safe food storage practices
  • Safe food handling practices
  • Cleaning for food safety
  • Pest control - especially being aware of how to detect early signs of a potential pest infestation

How Rentokil can help

Disruptive weather, seasonal changes and other environmental factors, which are sometimes beyond human control, can cause pest outbreaks.

In fact, at every stage of the food production and distribution process, there are opportunities for pests - such as, Stored Product Insects (SPIs) - to gain access to your ingredients and products and contaminate these.  

Using pest control solutions that are chemical-free, digital, innovative and unique, Rentokil helps food businesses, across the global food supply chain, protect their ingredients, produce and of course the finished consumable products from the associated health and safety risks that pest infestations could bring about.

Contact us to discuss how our professional pest control solutions can help your food businesses stay compliant with global food safety legislation, standards and regulations.


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