We often get asked “How to identify pest infestation?” In this article we share the five vital signs everyone in your business should be looking out for.
When pests find their way into a food business they always bring bad news, a pest infestation left untreated could mean contamination of food, complaints and prosecution.
During 2017 we’ve seen large businesses being hit by substantial fines when they failed to act on signs of infestation. Asda was fined £700.000 for a rodent infestation in a bakery, Poundland had to face a fine of £134.000 for gnawed chocolates and, for Holland and Barret, an anonymous complaint about mouse droppings turned into a £500.000 fine. OR
All these companies had pest contractors, but, ultimately, they were found responsible for their failings; in all these cases the signs of pest infestation were either not spotted or not reported.
Training your staff to spot signs of infestation should be at the forefront of your pest control policy; any reported signs should be recorded, and appropriate measures taken.
The Five Vital Signs
So here they are, the five vital signs everyone in your business should be aware of:
- Droppings. Mouse and rat droppings are small and dark, they will be scattered randomly and can often be found alongside skirting boards and on top of counters and in cupboards.
- Gnawing marks and damage. Holes in sacks and bags, damage to food packaging and to storage containers are a clear sign that rodents might be present in your food business.
- Smear marks. Due to their poor eyesight rats run along stablished paths, often following skirting boards and walls; the oil and grease in their fur will leave dark smudges on walls.
- Webbing, flour tracks and moulds in grain products. These could all be signs of stored product insects, which might find their way into dry stores. They all not only a source of contamination, but they can also do a lot of damage to stored foods.
- Bodies. Whether finding dead bodies or casings or actual sightings of live animals, they are all an indication that you might be facing a pest infestation.
Are your staff trained to spot these signs?
Envesca offer the following courses, all of which include details on avoiding cross contamination.
For further advice and guidance call us on 01452 898180. We’re here to help.