Pest prevention is an important aspect of food safety. The presence of pests such as mice, rats or insects poses health risks. These uninvited guests are often carriers of parasites, bacteria or viruses that are easily transmissible to food. In addition, vermin can contaminate products or packaging with excrement or leave other kinds of traces. The gnawing behavior of rats and mice can also damage production processes. Damage to cables, for example, which in turn can lead to a fire hazard. Therefore, during an audit or inspection, strict checks are made for the presence of vermin. When a pest infestation is discovered, it can have major consequences. A production location can even be shut down.
Pest prevention as part of the quality system
Controlling pests is therefore an important part of the quality system. Pest prevention starts with good company hygiene because pests cannot do without food, water, and shelter. Therefore, remove possible food sources or make them inaccessible to pests. For example, by immediately clearing waste in closed waste containers. It is also essential to properly maintain sewers and to seal unused pipes. Puddles of water can also create nuisances. In the outdoors, fallen leaves and weeds provide pests with perfect hiding places. Therefore, consider implementing a gravel strip between company property and any green segments, for example. Prevent pests from entering by closing doors properly, closing cracks and holes, and installing screens.
In addition to prevention measures, companies must regularly inspect for pests and have a pest management plan in place. When pest presence has been detected, the company must immediately take measures according to plan.
Environmentally friendly pest management
Legal requirements apply to pest control. For quite a few years now, there has been legislation restricting the use of rodenticides outside of buildings. This encourages a more environmentally friendly management of rodents. The new legislation now also restricts the use of rodenticides inside buildings.
This change in regulations is the result of European authorization policies for biocides. The Board for the Authorization of Plant Protection Products and Biocides (Ctgb) has regulated this for the Netherlands in the legal instructions for use (WG). These extra rules are necessary because the agents are very toxic, also for other animals, and remain in the environment for a long time.
For (pest control) companies that want to use products based on anticoagulants and rodenticides based on cholecalciferol indoors, it is mandatory from January 1, 2023, to certify and additionally train staff according to IPM rodent control (IPM = Integrated Pest