Food Safety and Pest Control: Several Ways to Prevent Food Poisoning

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Pest control is necessary since pests may be both a nuisance and a health hazard. They can attack and contaminate human food, inflict damage to your property’s structure (such as electric lines), and spread various diseases and hazardous bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Regardless of how successful your business is, if you don’t focus on food safety training, an insect or rodent will pose a threat at some point.

The presence of pests near human and animal waste, human food, and the environment raises the potential for them to act as disease vectors and facilitate cross-contamination. Salmonella, E. Coli, Campylobacter, and Listeria are among the pathogens they can pick up and later excrete or spread.

Prevention of Food Poisoning

In general, pests are prevented by good hygiene, orderly housekeeping, and efficient insect exclusion. Barring pests from your premises is the best way to deal with them. Even if you don’t have a current pest problem, you should take precautions to prevent pests from entering your food processing unit. The two basic measures in avoiding food poisoning are reducing the attraction and the restriction of access.

Restriction of access

  • All external doors should fit snugly into their frames, with no gaps. Brush strips should be applied to any doors that aren’t fitting correctly.
  • If necessary, install fly screens over external windows and doors.
  • Fill any openings around pipework or cables that external breach walls, grates on drainage ditches, and other rodent entry points with rodent-resistant materials like concrete.
  • Seal any cracks in the walls, floors, or ceilings that harbor insects. 

Reduction of the attraction

  • Clean all food handling and storage locations regularly, including hard-to-reach areas like under/behind equipment
  • Clean up spills immediately
  • Dry food in open packs should be stored in containers with lids
  • Store food off the floor
  • Check food packaging for damage. Keep your garbage can clean to keep rats away from it.
  • Ensure that bin lids are properly fastened;
  • Ensure that bins are emptied and cleaned regularly;
  • If you have a commercial wheeled bin, ensure that the drainage hole bung is in place;
  • Avoid accumulating cardboard and redundant equipment.
  • Rotate stock regularly.
  • Don’t leave food or drink out overnight.
  • Fix dripping faucets or cover toilets to eliminate water sources.
  • Check for signs of insect activity in deliveries.
  • Ascertain that all employees are aware of the protocol for reporting any evidence of pest activity so that appropriate action can be taken.

We can’t overlook the necessity of food safety training for pest management. 

Signs of a pest infestation

In addition to preventing pests, knowing the indicators of pests is essential for determining whether or not you have a pest problem. Three common pests and signs of an infestation are listed below:

Cockroaches:

Casings for eggs (small shells that are black, brown, or dark red)

Droppings that resemble black pepper granules in size and shape

Orders with a lot of oil

Flies:

Seeing flies in your establishment regularly

Seeing a significant number of flies in the vicinity of garbage cans or waste containers

Seeing a few flies now and again does not necessarily mean you have an infestation.

Rodents:

Black droppings of a small size

  • Mice are a type of rodent (droppings about the size of rice grains)
  • Rats are a type of rodent (droppings about the size of jelly beans)

Ammonia odor is really strong (rodent urine)

Materials such as lint and cotton are used to make nests. 

Procedure for removing pests from a restaurant

If you encounter a pest or see signs of a pest infestation, you should contact a pest control operator (PCO). Notify your PCO of the time, date, and location of the sighting or pest problem indications. Your PCO’s visit will be more effective if you offer them as much information as possible. If treatment is required in your facility, be sure your PCO has the necessary instruments, such as certified insecticides, to keep your food and equipment safe.

You and your employees will maintain a healthy, safe working environment if you learn how to keep pests out, watch and monitor for pest infestation indications, and know what to do if you feel you have a problem.

Contact Sustainability Leaders Group to learn more about controlling rodents and pests or to obtain access to pest control-specific food safety training in Saudi Arabia.

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