Pest control in food businesses

What’s hiding in your kitchen?Although common pests may look revolting and cause complaints from customers if sighted, they can also carry a host of bacteria and viruses that will contaminate food, if you do not store it away correctly.  Read on for more information on how you can keep your produce safe and hygienic.

Some of the worst offenders on the pest list include:

  • rodents (e.g. rats and mice)

  • insects (e.g. cockroaches, flies and ants)

  • birds (e.g. pigeons)

Where do pests hide?

Pests will gravitate to areas that provide shelter, water and a food source.  Pests are most active at night and can hide in dark areas that are difficult to access.  Pay close attention to:

  • under and behind electrical, heating and cooking appliances

  • under washing and hand-washing facilities

  • under and in boxes, packaging and food storage containers

  • inside wall cavities

  • in cracks and crevices, and behind equipment

Premises are required by the Food Standards Code to take all appropriate measures to ensure product remains free of contamination.

Steps to do this include:

  • sealing all holes, gaps and cracks in walls and ceilings

  • installing and maintaining flyscreens to windows and door openings

  • keeping doors closed when not in use

  • installing weather strips at the base of doors

Other procedures you can take to reduce the risk of pests on your premises include

  • regular checks for signs of pests

  • maintaining the food premises and equipment in a clean condition (a cleaning schedule may assist)

  • keeping food covered in sealed containers

  • storing food, equipment and food containers above the floor

  • keeping garbage storage areas clean and tidy

  • removing rubbish regularly, and making sure that external areas (outside bin areas) are clean and well-maintained

  • removing unused equipment and fixtures from the premises, and

  • implementing a suitable pest control program which may require the services of a licensed pest controller

Proper food safety and hygiene will ensure that your product is safe for patrons to consume.  Keeping clean and tidy premises is an essential part of maintaining a good reputation and encouraging repeat business.  To find out more about our Food Safety Supervisor course, click here.