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Food safety advice for businesses

Pests

If there are pests at your food premises they are likely to damage and contaminate food. If discovered during an inspection, or as a result of a complaint, this could lead to your premises being closed under a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice, costing you money and potentially ruining the reputation of your business.

As a food business proprietor it is your responsibility to have appropriate arrangements in place to effectively prevent pests from entering.

The three main groups of pests that are encountered in food businesses are:

  • Rodents - rats and mice.
  • Insects - cockroaches, beetles, ants and flies.
  • Birds - pigeons etc

The legislation requires that businesses must ensure that the layout, design, construction and size of food premises permit good food hygiene practices, including protection against external sources of contamination such as pests.

The legislation also requires that adequate procedures be in place to ensure pests are controlled. Setting up a pest control contract is good practice, but remember that the ultimate responsibility for any pest problem lies with you, as the proprietor of the food business. Laying of baits and poisons should be left to the professionals - commercially available baits are not adequate for use in food businesses and can be a source of food contamination - however you can and should carry out visual checks of the premises for signs of pest presence.

Even if your favourite pet is well trained, domestic animals are classed as pests in food businesses and should be kept out of food areas.

If you suspect that you might have a pest problem, it is important to identify them in the early stages. This involves regular monitoring of your premises for the signs of pests described above. When signs of pests are detected, we recommend that you take the following steps to ensure that the health of your customers is not harmed and to remove the infestation:

  • Close the business until the pests have been effectively cleared from all food storage, preparation and service areas.
  • Engage a competent person to survey the premises and carry out such treatment as is necessary to remove the infestation. This means that you should call your pest control contractor or set up a pest control contract if you do not already have one.
  • Contact us to report the problem and gain further advice. We will also investigate and deal with any possible problems with adjacent properties is this is thought to be a factor. If you have followed the other steps listed, then we will not need to serve a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice, as the risk to health will have been removed.
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect all equipment and surfaces that may have been contaminated by pests, including the floor, removing and disposing of any stock that may have been contaminated by pests. Care should be taken when cleaning as pest contamination can cause disease. Gloves should be worn.
  • Clean away all rodent droppings, dead cockroaches and cockroach egg cases from the premises.
  • Keep all food off the floor in sealed containers that are not accessible by pests.
  • Block off all holes in the premises that may afford access to rodents with a hard, gnaw resistant material.
  • Block all gaps under doors and fit pest screens to doors and windows that may be left open.
  • Fill all small crevices that may harbour cockroaches.
  • Fix leaky taps, cover toilet and deny all access to water to pests.
  • Dispose of any food that may have been contaminated by the mice, rats or cockroaches.

Help with getting rid of pests

We offer help to get rid of any unwanted pests.