In a catering or hospitality venue an effective approach to pest control is imperative. Safety and hygiene standards cannot be compromised without breaking the law and in the battle against contamination reaching food, pests are a clear foe.

For example, rats can potentially spread fatal bacteria and diseases for 24 hours after death, flies vomit on food which you could serve to an unwitting consumer and roosting birds’ excretions, called guano, should only be removed by professionals as it is considered hazardous waste. A secondary treatment for fleas may be necessary with this kind of infestation. Cockroaches, mice and ants are equally challenging.

Not only do pests pose a significant health risk but their presence on your premises could lead to structural problems, loss of business reputation and fines or closure.

Environmental health teams from local councils are tasked with ensuring that businesses meet the strict hygiene and safety standards and when pest control and food hygiene practices are inadequate they will act in accordance with the law and in the interests of public health.

Be Your Own Environmental Health Officer

An environmental health officer cannot be expected to stay on site to monitor hygiene standards every day but don’t forget responsibilities or assume that a pest issue and its inherent cross contamination risks won’t occur in your establishment; pests are opportunists and a lacklustre attitude to food safety is an invitation to them.

Pest risk inspections are not an additional task to incorporate, when possible, in the busy workday. Monitoring and managing food safety risks should be a fundamental consideration, and not just at management level. It is vital that everyone involved in a business is vigilant and proactive about upholding hygiene levels.  

Increase Knowledge

Educating your team to recognise and report an issue is essential; specialist firms including Food Alert offer food safety training courses at all staff levels.

Hygiene training courses include:

  • CIEH Food safety awareness training.
  • CIEH level 1 food safety course.
  • CIEH level 2 food safety course.  
  • CIEH level 3 food safety course.
  • RSPH level 4 managing food safety training.
  • Health and safety awareness.
  • Level 2, level 3 and level 4 awards in health and safety in the workplace. 3 and 4 are aimed at supervisors, management and owners.
  • Overview for managers in food safety and health and safety.
  • Level 2 and level 3 HACCP hygiene training courses.

The Food Standards Agency recommendations are common sense, nothing is unreasonable or unattainable.

  • Look for droppings.
  • Are there holes in walls or doors?
  • Has packaging been gnawed?
  • Can you see nests, maggots, eggs, feathers?
  • Have you heard noises that could be attributed to pests?
  • Keep external areas tidy, ensure that bins are securely closed and disinfected routinely.
  • Food crumbs, leftovers and dirty plates attract pests. Store food safely.
  • Appoint a pest control manager or contractor.
  • Maintain personal and premises hygiene standards.  
  • Inspect incoming items for contamination.
  • Pest proof the premises. e.g. drain covers, anti-bird spikes and wire mesh screens.

Strive for superior hygiene standards; you owe it to yourself and your customers.