The contamination of food sources in South Africa has come under the spotlight in recent years as a result of the listeriosis outbreak which affected more than 1,000 people and 128 deaths. While food can become contaminated form many reasons, pest infestation is a major contributor to virus and bacteria transfer as well as quality deterioration to stored products.

Arranging for Integrated Pest Control Management is part of a multi-faceted plan to keep these four common pests out and ensure food safety. 

Flying Insects

The mobility of flying insects like flies, moths, gnats and mosquitoes makes keeping them out of food facilities extremely difficult. Preventative measures need to be put in place to deter these pests from entering in the first place. This includes controlling areas where breeding is most likely to occur, removing attractive food sources (waste bins and excess garbage), as well as installing pest barriers to such as screens, air curtains or strip doors.

In addition to prevention, Aa second wave of protection in the form of traps and baits are also required for flying insects that do manage to find their way in. These need to be placed in the right locations and carefully monitored and cleaned regularly.

While insecticide fogging is an option in a food manufacturing or processing facility, it is critical that this be performed by a licensed technician with the necessary knowledge about food plant care.

Crawling Insects

It is critical that food production and processing facilities be 100% protected against cockroaches. The feeding and nesting habits of these vector pests can aid in the swift spread of numerous diseases that could put the food into the danger zone for contamination.

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German cockroaches (the most common type in South Africa) are effective hitchhikers and can easily hide inside cardboard boxes, pallets, and packing materials, which is how they gain entry into food plants; however, they can also get in through sewer pipes, steam tunnels, underground utility lines, open doors and windows, and even by employees on their personal belongings.

Rodents

Rats and mice are by far the biggest transmitters of disease and are infamous for passing contamination through food on to humans. For this reason, it is imperative that every protection possible is implemented to keep these pests away from plants and distribution centres containing any type of food.

Efforts should be made to identify and handle rodent sightings and signs of activity immediately with traps and other treatments. Care must also be taken to monitor popular nesting sites, including old equipment, unused pallets, junk and anything that can be used as nesting materials.

Stored Product Pests

Birds and moths may also find their way into your food facility, feasting on your grains and other stored foods in your warehouse facility. A certified pest control technician should treat these situations with a customised plan, possibly including fumigation or other deterrents.

Pest Control & Food Safety (GFSI)

Due to complex challenges in today’s food supply chain, many of the world's largest food retailers are mandating supplier certification to Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) schemes, which include AIB, BRC, FSSC 22000, GLOBALG.A.P. and BAP and CanadaGAP.

GFSI was established to ensure confidence in the delivery of safer food to consumers, while continuing to improve food safety throughout the supply chain.  These global standards address food, packaging, packaging materials, storage and distribution for primary producers, manufacturers and distributors. If a Pest Control company provides any services to a food manufacturer that is been audited on these criteria the Pest Control company needs to provide Integrated Pest Management according to the specific audit criteria.

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According to foodqualityandsafety.com:

Achieving GFSI certification can ensure consumer confidence in product safety. Among the many existing standards available for audit or certification, GFSI has selected several that are applicable to the food manufacturing industry.

One of these audit criteria includes ensuring that the necessary controls are in place to reduce or eliminate the risk of pest infestation. Some of the benchmarking criteria deals with the following questions:

  • Is an effective Pest Control Programme in place?
  • Are the controls appropriate in relation to the product, raw materials and facility?
  • Is the inspection programme undertaken by a competent person at an appropriate frequency and are findings addressed?

Concerned about food safety in your facility? Ask us about our full-service Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plans