One of the main causes for the closure of a food business is pest infestation. Pests harbour and transfer pathogens to food and can cause damage to food stocks. Public awareness of a pest infestation can cause significant reputational damage too.
All food businesses must have a system of pest management in place and procedures for checking for pest activity. Usually, this is achieved with the assistance of a pest control contract with a qualified pest control operative. Using a qualified pet control operator enables the business to employ a range of tactics to prevent and control pests; including the use of pesticides. Only trained pest control contractors are permitted to use pesticides in food businesses and their use must be strictly controlled to prevent food contamination.
Pest infestations may occur for a number of reasons and these will largely be dependent upon the type of pest. With most vertebrate pests (such as rodents and birds) the most important preventative measure is to proof the property to deny access to pests from the outside. Any gaps or holes in the structure should be removed; a solid structure without voids and spaces will help prevent harbourage. Proofing is also an important measure to be taken to prevent flying insects such as house flies and blowflies. Insect screens should be provided where natural ventilation is required to prevent pest access.
Smaller insect pests may easily gain access, for example, via contaminated food. It is therefore important to check all food items for potential pest activity when they are delivered and in storage. You must rotate stock regularly and should not keep large amounts of food stock for long periods of time.