Pest Management in the Food Operations
All food operations should have a proactive system for the prevention of contamination of products by pests that ensures there are effective controls and processes in place to minimise pest activity and ensure any pest infestation does not present a risk of contamination to products, raw materials or packaging.
Most organizations use Pest Control Association registered pest control contractor to implement a Pest Management programme and maintain the site free from pest contamination unless the organization employs a Pest Management Specialist.
A typical Pest Management contract agreement defines:
- Company and contractor key contact personnel
- Description of contracted services and how they will be completed
- Term of the contract
- Equipment and material storage specifications
- A complete inventory of pesticides (must be approved by the regulatory authority for use in a food facility) detailing the safe use and application of baits and other materials such as insecticide sprays or fumigants
- Emergency call out procedures
- Records to be maintained
- Requirement to notify facility of any changes in service or materials used
- Service personnel including evidence of competency by exam from a recognized organization
The contracted Pest Management service should provide:
- Site visits and inspections (including the periphery and internal and external buildings) based on a documented risk assessment including service records describing current levels of pest activity and recommendations for taking corrective actions.
- The provision of a plan/diagram of the site showing the location of all pest control monitoring and prevention measures
- Flying insect controls including fly killing units
- Emergency 24-hour call-out service
- Quarterly biologist inspection reports, visit and trend reports with recommendations
- A current copy of the certificate of insurance that specifies the liability coverage
- Spill control materials and procedures
- Material safety data sheet information to ensure proper usage of pesticide chemicals.
A nominated manager or responsible employee should have overall responsibility for Pest Management on site so that Pest Management is manged within site control rather than relying on contractors.
Before agreeing to a contract the Pest Management Contractor should be subject to Supplier Approval to ensure that the contractor is qualified and the pest management programmes will comply with applicable legislation.
Copies of the Contract, Service Agreement, Pest Control Reports and Pest Management Contractor training records and qualifications should be held in Pest Control File on site. At the start of the contract a detailed survey of the entire facility should be completed by a qualified Field Biologist and the results documented and used to determine placement of Pest Control devices.
Exterior Bait Stations
Exterior rodent bait stations should be set up to deter rodents from entering the facility. Based on the detailed facility survey, exterior bait stations should be placed along the foundation walls on the exterior of the facility and along the site boundaries. Exterior bait stations containing rodenticides should be tamper resistant, anchored in place, locked, and labelled.
Based on the detailed Field Biologist survey, interior monitoring devices should be placed in strategic sensitive areas specific to the rodent species, and other areas of possible pest activity. Interior rodent monitoring devices identify and capture rodents that gain access to the facility. Interior monitoring devices should be placed in areas where pest ingress is first likely to be identified and secured in position.
Elimination of Pest Habitat
The Field Biologist should identify any possible pest habitat around the site in the quarterly inspections. The nominated manager or responsible employee should take actions to remove or eliminate favourable conditions for pests including eliminating any rodent burrows, rodent runs and areas that provide harbourage or may attract rodents or other pests to the site or outside grounds.
Pest Management Reporting
Records of all Monitoring devices should be maintained, including services performed, to ensure that devices are properly placed and inspected to allow trend analysis of activity.
Pest Management Contractor reports include:
- Signs of pest activity
- Proofing requirements
- Actions required by site
- Type of Pest
- Pesticide or material applied
- Pesticide registration number
- Rate of application or percent of concentration
- Specific location of application
- Method of application
- Amount of pesticide used at the application site
- Next action/follow up date
- Date and time
- Review and investigation of any missing baits
- Signature of pest controller
Temporary placement of any pest monitoring devices for short-term monitoring should be documented in pest management action reports.
All personnel should be trained to identify potential issues caused by pests at induction. A pest reporting procedure should be in place such that any incident or sign of pest activity is immediately reported to the nominated manager or responsible employee and any potential product affected quarantined. The nominated manager or responsible employee maintains a log of pest sightings and the action taken by the pest controller.
The Pest Control Contractor should provide reports for all visits and advise on any trends and corrective actions.
Pests pose a major threat to the safety of food. Pest infestations can occur where there are breeding sites and a supply of food. Good hygiene practices should be employed to avoid creating an environment conducive to pests. Sanitation, inspection of incoming materials and monitoring can minimise the likelihood of infestation.
Buildings should be kept in good repair and condition to prevent pest access and to eliminate potential breeding sites. Holes, drains and other places where pests are likely to gain access should be protected or sealed. Screens for windows, doors and vents should be used to reduce the risk of pest entry.
The availability of food and water encourages pest harbourage and infestation. Potential food sources should be protected and stored above the ground and away from walls. Areas both inside and outside food premises should be kept clean. Waste should be stored in covered, pest-proof containers whenever possible.
Pest infestations should be dealt with immediately and without adversely affecting food safety or suitability. Treatment with chemical, physical or biological agents should be carried out without posing a threat to the safety of food.
Pesticides should not be used in food areas.
As well as carrying bacteria, rodents can gnaw their way into materials and can cause substantial damage to buildings.
It is important to prevent access to pests, all access doors should be adequately proofed and/or screened.
Adequate measures in place to prevent birds from entering buildings or roosting.
Establishments and surrounding areas should be regularly examined by a competent person for evidence of infestation.