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Importance of Pest Management in Food Industry
Pests have an inherent tendency to be drawn towards most types of food. This is why the food industry is often a soft-target for many different types of pests. In order to maintain the desired food safety standards, proper pest management in food industry is of paramount importance. Being the carriers of numerous viruses, bacteria, and other organisms, pets are also a threat to the health of the staffs involved in food processing as well as handling.
Failure to ensure adequate pest management measures may also lead to regulatory actions, significant product loss, as well as a public relations nightmare. Most importantly, it may ruin the most important asset of the business, its good name. Therefore, the money spent in pest management is most likely to provide excellent returns in the form of reduced threat of product loss, and enhanced consumer satisfaction and brand reputation.
Types of Pests in Food Industry:
Depending on the climate, geography, and the nature of food ingredients used, different types of pests can be found in a food processing facility. Mentioned below are some common pests found across a wide majority of factories dealing with food processing, packaging, and retailing.
- Rodents: Rodents tend to enter buildings through very small holes, cracks, and doorways and are often found to gnaw, feed, and breed in locations where food processing is done. In addition to posing threats to health and safety, they can also damage expensive equipment and contaminate food. Sometimes, they may also cause electrical fires.
- Flies: Flies are responsible for causing diseases such as food poisoning, dysentery, typhoid, fever, etc. They are difficult to control, and increase population during the summer. Thriving on trash receptacles, they often contaminate food as well as packaging materials.
- Cockroaches: These pests are the vectors of several bacterial species including Salmonella and E. coli. Living mostly in the dark, cockroaches can be present in hundreds or even thousands. Wood and cardboard boxes present in food processing units are perfect places for them to thrive. In addition to irritating the guests and employees, cockroaches can trigger allergens and cause allergy symptoms.
- Beetles: Along with weevils, bakery moths, and flour mites, beetles are categorized as Stored Product Insects or SPIs. They are greatly attracted to standard ‟white” lightbulbs and can cause physical damage to the finished products as well as raw materials. They also contaminate food products with insect pupae, shed skins, faeces, body parts, and webbing.
- Moths: Amongst all types of moths, Indian meal moths are a serious concern for many food processing factories. They reside and reproduce indoors, and are found abundantly in kitchens, food stores, and industrial food processing plants. If not managed, these pests can cost a great deal in lost revenue because of discarded food.
How Integrated Pest Management Can Help
Integrated Pest Management is an advanced approach to pest control and management that focuses on preventing pests from entering a certain area, rather than eliminating them after they make their way into the area. This approach involves three steps as mentioned below.
- Inspection: A detailed inspection is the foremost step in protecting your food business from pests. The places you must not miss are the places where raw or packaged food may be found. This includes receiving docks, food storage rooms, spillage prone areas, employee break rooms, etc. Also, don’t forget to inspect the entry and exit points, water sources, and harborage zones. In general, a weekly inspection should be sufficient.
- Preventive Measures: This step is all about finding ways to prevent the entry of all types of pests into your factory premises. This can be done most effectively by ensuring the best possible structural maintenance of the facility. First of all, seal off all the potential pest entry points that are well recognized. Another simple but effective way to prevent pest infestation is proper sanitation throughout the facility. Do anything you can to make sure that the storage and production areas are orderly, dry, and clean. Figure out the areas within the facility that are pest-conducive, and initiate appropriate measures for all such areas.
- Monitoring and Documentation: Thoroughly monitor and document each inspection and prevention step you have implemented. Keep a close watch after the implementation of preventive measures to figure out if any procedural changes are essential to control any recurring infestation problem. Documentation is also important for future references.
Whether you have a pest infestation problem or machine breakdown issue, contact the experts at Lumix without any delay whatsoever. We offer a wide range of services, preventative maintenance support, and specialist ingredients to ensure the profitability of your business.