September is National Food Safety Education Month. Each year, an estimated 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from eating contaminated food. Proper food preparation, handling, and storing procedures all play a critical role in the prevention of foodborne illnesses.
Professional pest control is paramount to the success and reputation of food and beverage related businesses such as restaurants, food processing facilities and grocery stores. Unchecked pest infestations of any kind can have a severe impact on the livelihood and reputation of a commercial business. Most facilities are required to undergo the meticulous scrutiny of government regulation and third-party audits, including GFSI audits such as SQF, BRC, and FSSC2000.
Integrated Pest Management is consistently a guaranteed category for any food safety audit, accounting for up to 20% of a third party audit score. A failed audit can have devastating consequences, leading to a significant negative impact on overall profitability for a growing business. With the help of a well-managed IPM program, companies can stay one step ahead of pest infestations and focus on other important food safety practices.
Preventing pest infestations in food environments
When it comes to the Integrated Pest Management approach, one of our main goals is to be preventative and proactive. The key is in identifying a pest problem before food products are damaged and contaminated or business patrons become aware of the infestation.
Once a pest problem is pinpointed, pest specialists can then provide treatment accordingly and then focus their efforts on preventing the issue from growing. One way this is done is by removing garbage and making sure that weeds and vegetation are not encroaching on your facility, where certain pests like mice and rats love to hide.
Specialists will also be sure to seal up access points in order to limit pests’ ability to enter your building by replacing compromised screens, sealing up any holes and cracks, and fixing pipes and drains. Finally, devices in areas of known pest activity to monitor and trap insects and pests on the interior and exterior of your property.
Rodent control for the foodservice industry
As we enter the colder months, rodents are a major concern for any business in the food industry. Not only can they be a disturbance to businesses like supermarkets, where customers shop, or restaurants where patrons are dining indoors; but these invaders also pose a food safety risk. They can easily leave behind droppings and bacteria in food preparation and consumption areas. They can also introduce other unwelcome parasites like fleas, lice and ticks into your business, creating an unclean and unhygienic environment. Not to mention, a sighting of any one of the previously mentioned pests can severely harm your brand’s reputation.
To keep these disease-carrying pests away from food and beverages and maintain public food safety standards, you need a highly efficient tech solution to monitor any potential activity onsite. Rentokil’s PestConnect portfolio has blended integrated pest management with technology to create a line of remote, digital monitoring products that are able to monitor, detect, and quickly contain rodents on your property. The increased efficacy generated by this revolutionary technology reduces disruption to your business, letting you focus on other important food safety standards.
Flies and food safety
Along with rodents, flies pose just as big a threat to food safety. Like mice and rats, flies can cause food contamination and food poisoning. They can spread a number of diseases, including salmonella and E. coli. Flies can become an issue quickly for businesses that handle food because they can breed and multiply quickly. Since most species, including fruit flies and cluster flies, are so small, they can breed and grow freely before they are noticed by humans. The main reason flies are such a major health concern is because certain species actually breed on fruits and vegetables, which are often readily available in food environments like grocery stores and restaurant kitchens.
Using the ERDM approach: exclusion, restriction, destruction and monitoring, pest specialists can help create a plan to remove breeding sites, seal up entry points, and set up indoor light traps to capture flies and monitor future activity in your building. Lumnia, Rentokil’s revolutionary UV Insect Light Trap, reduces the risk of contamination from flies and other flying insects. It also uses LED technology to remove the fragmentation or blow out of dead insects.
Professional pest control for food sectors
At Rentokil, we hope you continue to make every month Food Safety Education Month and educate your staff on the biggest threats to food safety. Staying on top of the proper protocols required for food environments is no easy task. The good thing is you don’t have to do it alone. Rentokil offers highly effective pest treatments using Integrated Pest Management techniques specially designed for businesses in the food industry.
To learn more about our commercial pest control services and how they align with your food safety standards, contact us today.