What a Pest
Outlets are being called on to review their waste control in a bid to keep pests at bay.
Disposal of waste
Vital to minimising the threat of disease and infection, waste disposal is one of the most neglected areas of the food industry, and sadly, a common source of problems. As a result, pest experts are calling on operators to review their procedures and put measures in place to prevent an infestation.
“The disposal of food waste is an area where environmental health professionals continue to see major issues,” said Dee Ward-Thompson, of the British Pest Control Association (BPCA). “Pests such as rats, mice, ants and flies will quickly collect where waste food is left hanging around and infestations can rapidly take hold; without being easily detected.”
And once there is an infestation, they can easily get into other areas of the premises if the building structure is inadequately proofed.
Food Safety Act and Food Hygiene Regulations lay down general requirements for all operators and the BPCA says there’s little margin for error.
Mrs Ward-Thompson added: “Large companies will generally have effective pest control systems in place, however, among smaller food premises there’s often much to be done to ensure compliance with the regulations and an appropriate level of protection.
“Setting the standards for issues such as the disposal of food waste is one thing, working to those standards can be quite another. Infestations can not only cause serious illness, but could also lead to a damaging loss of reputation, sales and taken to the extreme, closure.”
The BPCA says pest management in restaurants, commercial kitchens and even hotels should not only be designed to prevent pests, but also reduce the conditions that help them to survive if they did become established.
“All pests are looking for food, warmth and shelter and the problem is that it doesn’t take much food, in the case of a mouse just a few grams a day, to sustain an infestation,” said Mrs Ward-Thompson. “But if waste is stored correctly, and disposed of regularly by contractors, pests simply can’t get at it and the potential for a problem is greatly reduced.”
Businesses which suspect an infestation of any kind should deal with it sooner, rather than later – perhaps taking a note of any sightings and calling in an expert to tackle the issue.
However, the BPCA insists it’s far more efficient, and often more cost-effective, to take out a contract with a professional company before any problems arise.
“Properly qualified technicians will ensure food premises are as protected as they can be and are likely to combine expert advice with a review of a company’s procedures,” added Mrs Ward-Thompson. “Pest management should not be a simple box-ticking exercise and every business handling food needs to ensure controllers have the right credentials. Operators who insist on membership of the BPCA are on the right track as every member is required to hold key qualifications – an initiative that delivers vital peace of mind.
“They’ll also hold appropriate insurance allowing them to work safely at any kind of premise and will have been assessed on a regular basis to ensure they provide a thoroughly professional and consistent service.”
Businesses can find a qualified company in their area by using the Find A Pest Controller search tool at www.bpca.org.uk