Learn how to keep rats out of your restaurant

Recent events in the media have highlighted the issue of rats in food outlets – much to the horror of consumers.  And rats are not the only pests to be concerned about, add birds, flies, cockroaches and you get the picture.

However, the presence of pests in food retail and preparation areas is just not unacceptable, it can cause significant food safety consequences, as well as loss of stock and damage to your brand. No company wants photos of rats in their stores circulating on social media, the fallout is just too damaging to your reputation. But most importantly, pest control issues like this can result in foodborne illness and closure of your facility by the health inspectors in order to protect the consumer. The Department of Health is stricter than ever, so you need to make sure your house is in order.

So, what can you do to mitigate this risk?

Step One – Sort out your house!

1. Landscaping
Remove excess plant growth, and maintain the lawns and avoid uneven ground to prevent water from pooling and providing breeding areas.

2. Building surroundings
A paved area around the building will discourage pest activity. Remove all standing water.

3. Exterior windows & doors
Install weather stripping around windows and doors to close off any gaps that pests could enter through. Inspect for worn-out door weather strips and sweeps and replace accordingly.

4. Vents
Inspect vents and have them properly screened.

5. Walls
Look for cracks and other damages to exterior wall structures. Make the repairs and seal with weather-resistant sealant. Make sure there are no holes in sheeting however small.

6. Roofs
Inspect the roof for any cracks, holes, missing sheeting, openings and seal these

7. Gutters
Inspect and clean out nests and other debris that can cause pooling water which is a breeding opportunity.

8. Location of Equipment
Ensure fixed equipment is positioned so it is possible to inspect and clean all the way around and underneath

9. Ceilings
Drop ceilings must be cleaned and maintained as they easily become harbourage sites

10. Pipe work & ducting
Quick fixes such as capping equipment, inlet piping and keeping drain covers and screens/traps for vents in place also help to eliminate simple shelters for pests

11. Trunking for electrical cables
Although easier to clean than cable racking, these provide an ideal harbourage for cockroaches. Rather avoid.

12. Doors
Keep them closed – install automatic door returns, Install screen doors work on standard doors, install air curtains and strip doors for dock doors.

13. Windows
Keep them closed – weld closed if necessary, remove if possible. Install screens as a last resort.

14. Redundant equipment
Get rid of all equipment, pallets and any other engineering junk that can easily harbour pests. Workshops and spares stores are ideal spots for rodents.

Step 2 – Use the experts

Once you have done everything you can do, you need to engage a reputable pest control service provider, who has the experience and expertise to manage your pest control problems. 

But engaging with a pest control provider is the same as engaging with any other professional service provider. You need to do your homework. Don’t rush into it. Ask a few companies for information and check out trade references.

We’ve put together a useful list of questions to ask a potential (or existing) pest control provider to ensure you get the right one!  You can read more here: http://www.foodfocus.co.za/home/Industry-Topics/food-safety/Interview-questions-for-your-pest-control-provider

So now you know what steps you need to take, why not connect with a suitable service provider. We have a number of them listed in our Supplier Directory, check them out for more info!

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