Making a Pest Control Checklist for the Food Industry
Any business involved with the preparation or sale of food has a legal obligation to control pests due to the health risks they pose.
The main threats come from rodents such as rats and mice and insects such as cockroaches, all of which are known to be carriers of numerous bacteria, viruses, and diseases that are harmful to humans.
All restaurants should make a pest control checklist to meet Health and Safety as well as Environmental Health requirements. Aside from the legal implications, there are also financial issues and damage to property, reputation and morale. In the worst-case scenario, food outlets can be prosecuted and forced to close temporarily or permanently.
If you employ the services of a professional pest control company, they will understand the legal requirements relating to food standards and overall hygiene in food premises. They will conduct a thorough risk assessment and present a plan of action.
Where to Begin
When you are starting to produce your checklist, one of the biggest challenges can be knowing where to begin. We would always recommend that you have a contract with a reputable pest control company. Following their risk assessment, they may be able to create a checklist for you, one which is likely to be far more comprehensive than you could produce yourself. Of course, once you have a contract in place, you will need a way to contact them in an emergency should an infestation occur; it requires dealing with it immediately.
Involve Your Team
Once you have a pest control company working alongside you, you need to ensure that all your team know their responsibilities and how they can spot any issues that may arise. Depending on the size of the operation, do they know who they should report any concerns to? It is vital to emphasise that if they have any concerns, that they should be properly investigated. It is far better to be overly cautious than turn a blind eye.
Checklist for your Premises
Here are some of the critical points that you should include on your checklist regarding the management of your premises, especially the kitchen areas:
- Ensure that no food (including containers are stored on the floor)
- Ensure all food containers are correctly sealed and that the outside of the containers are kept clean
- Ensure all bins are securely covered, emptied and cleaned at the end of a shift
- All spillages, regardless of how small, need to be cleaned immediately
- All floors should be swept and mopped at the end of the shift
- At least once a week, fridges and other equipment need to be pulled out so that hard-to-reach-places can be thoroughly cleaned
- Ensure external bins are clean and securely fastened
Conducting Regular Checks for Pests
- Check for evidence of their presence, such as droppings or chew marks anywhere and to any material!
- Look for any animal footprints or other marks to suggest that you have an infestation
- Check for evidence of nesting
- Look and listen for any visible or audio indication of their presence
- Ensure that there are no lingering unusual or unpleasant smells