Dangers of Pests in the Food Manufacturing Industry
Not only do pests leave you with a bad feeling in your stomach, but they are also notorious for transmitting pathogens that actually get us sick. From E. coli and Salmonella to Listeria and Staphylococcus, pests can spread harmful microorganisms that lead to illnesses with unpleasant symptoms like gastrointestinal pain, fever and nausea.
Food processing facilities are a prime target for pests because food, water and hiding spaces are abundant, making your facility the perfect place for pests to settle in. Knowing how to spot potential pest problems and the strategies for keeping pests out of your facility can make all the difference in preventing these filthy guests from invading your business – and ruining your reputation.
When pest-contaminated food goes unnoticed and is shipped to customers, you risk facing the consequences of product recalls, which can lose your customers’ trust and impact the bottom line In 2018, a possible Salmonella outbreak in the meat industry caused a recall of more than 5,400 tonnes of unusable product, costing food processors millions of dollars.This recall isn’t the first of it’s kind, and it won’t be the last. That’s why it is essential for you to know how foodborne illnesses are transmitted and how to prevent them at your facility.
How Foodborne Illnesses Are Transmitted
Pathogens like E. coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus and Listeria can all be transmitted to people through contaminated food (download this tip sheet for more on these common contaminators). While there are several ways that food can become contaminated, pests are potential transmitters of harmful pathogens and are known to spread more than 250 microorganisms that can cause foodborne illnesses. Flies, cockroaches and rodents are the most common offenders, so take note of how these pests transmit illnesses throughout your facility – and how you can help prevent it:
Pests Know How to Sneak Inside
How much room is really needed for a pest to enter your space? Many persistent pests are able to fit through small gaps and cracks in windows, doors or the exterior of your facility.
For example, mice can squeeze through holes as small as 7 millimetres, while rats manage to push through holes as small as a quarter. Cockroaches are able to flatten their bodies to fit through narrow spaces and some species, such as the American cockroach, are even known to use sewers as a network to get inside.
TIP: To stop these stealthy intruders from sneaking in, perform a full inspection of your facility and pinpoint any potential structural deficiencies that will allow them in or provide harbourage:
- Seal up any cracks and gaps in your building’s exterior.
- Repair or replace any worn screens, door sweeps or weather strips.
- Keep exterior doors and windows shut.
Pests Can Spread Pathogens Quickly
Rodents and flies reproduce quickly and contaminate every surface they touch in your facility. As they navigate your property, rodents leave behind droppings, urine and fur. They also can chew through packaging and spread pathogens through their saliva as they eat your food product. A female housefly can produce up to 1,000 eggs in her short lifetime, allowing fly populations to grow exponentially. Because flies land frequently and regurgitate when they do so, there is reason to be concerned when they move from filthy surfaces like sewage and garbage to your food product.
Cockroaches also readily spread germs to human surfaces. These opportunistic feeders will eat just about anything, and the dangerous bacteria can stay in their systems for up to a month.
TIP: At the first sign of pest activity, it is time to break out the cleaning supplies. Regular sanitation and facility maintenance is a must to ensure the health and safety of your employees and customers:
- Regularly clean floors, baseboards and walls to minimize sanitation issues left behind by unwanted mess-makers.
- Wipe down areas like counters and cabinets.
- Routinely dispose of trash and keep tight-fitting lids on waste receptacles.
- Clean spills immediately and sweep up any crumbs or food product left on the floor.
- Discard any litter that creates perfect pest hiding spots.
Defending Against Foodborne Illness
The first step in preventing a pest infestation – and avoiding the contaminants they carry – is to work with your Orkin Canada pest specialist and thoroughly inspect your property. We can help you identify problem spots or pressure points and determine the next steps to create an IPM plan. Areas with excessive moisture, overlooked food sources, overgrown vegetation, structural deficiencies and poor housekeeping or storage practices create ideal conditions for a pest population to thrive.
Keep in mind that no pest control program is the same for every business – a cookie-cutter approach won’t cut it. Instead, we’ll tailor your program to take into account the things that make your facility unique – like geography, climate, surrounding properties, the building’s age and your floor plan. Because pest pressures change over time, we’ll also establish a robust monitoring program to stay on top of any new pest activity and help stop a potential pest problem in its tracks.
If you’re sick of pests and want to stop worrying about them spreading germs in your facility, give us a call. For a quick tip sheet on the common foodborne illnesses and how to protect your customers’ well-being, download this easy-to-read guide.
You may also like
Top Pests Expected To Trend In The Summer Of 2023
Warm weather is around the corner, which means pests that have been overwintering or hibernating will wake up as well as non-hibernating pests will start making an appearance outdoors. Being prepared for those spring and summer pests can have an impact on how enjoyable your time will be at home or at work. Using industry leading expertise, we have put together a comprehensive list on the top 8 pests expected to trend in the summer of 2023. This list will provide a deeper dive into the impact that pests can have on your property, along with prevention tips to keep your home or business pest-free.
Canada's Top 25 Bed Bug Cities Of 2022
Bed bugs are extremely efficient hitch hikers. They can move easily across a room and climb onto luggage or anything left on a bed in just one night. Learn which cities have made Canada’s top 25 bed buggiest cities.
Top 6 Pests Expected To Trend In The Winter Of 2022
With winter weather around the corner, Canadians will start heading indoors to escape the cold. Just like humans, pests also look to seek refuge indoors as resources, such as food and water, become harder to find outside when the weather gets colder. In order to prevent a potential pest infestation from occurring on your property throughout the winter, we have put together a comprehensive list of the top 6 pests expected to trend in the winter of 2022. This list will provide an in-depth look at the impact that pests will have on your home or business, along with also providing easy to use preventative tips.
Top 4 Tips For A Pest-Free Halloween
You may have been tricked by the plastic bats and fake spider webs in your neighbourhood, but the pests trying to make your house their home can be the scariest trick during Halloween. From rodents trying to trick or treat inside your home to flies trying to enjoy your jack-o’-lanterns, pests are always looking for ways to get into the Halloween spirit (and your home). Don’t worry, you’re not alone in trying to pest proof your home, as your Orkin Canada Pro has put together a list of 4 quick tips that will help you keep pests out this Halloween.
Remove pests from your home, and stop them from coming back
We work hard to listen, understand and assess your unique situation. Request a free, no-obligation estimate today for a customized pest program that fits your needs.Request a Free Home Estimate
Request a Free Business Consultation