Vigilant prevention of infestations by rats and mice is a must in the food manufacturing industry. It is vital for the health and safety of your customers, workers, your reputation and your business. It is also backed up by The Food Safety Act 1990 and The Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 which require that you ensure adequate procedures are in place for controlling pests.
This is not a task that can be completed only once. It must be part of the firm’s culture to be on alert for any signs of mice or rats.
Things to watch for are:
Gnawed materials or teeth marks on food or wood.
Droppings that are shiny are a sure sign of the current presence of rodents and must be investigated immediately.
The stale odour produced by rodents can linger after the population has been exterminated. However, the manufacturer must be on the watch for this distinctive odour.
Urine pillars are piles of dust, debris and urine. These pillars indicate a long standing population exists.
Rats and mice are creatures of habit. They tend to follow the same path leaving smears as indicators. The appearance of smears left by the natural oil in the rodent’s skin on pipes, entry points and on “runs” frequented by rodents is another indication of long standing populations.
Rodent tracks in dusty areas.
Harbourages and burrows provide living space for rats and mice. Look for any area that may appeal to rodents. An active harbourage will be free from cobwebs and debris.
Prevention is Straightforward
Prevent access, disinfect food processing areas and secure waste materials.
Food manufacturers undergoing a routine inspection can be shut down immediately for rodent infestation. This can happen regardless of if a complaint is issued prior to the closure or not. This manufacturer immediately loses its ability to make money. Until such a time as it can prove to Local Authorities that the infestation has been resolved, the manufacturer cannot reopen. There is also significant concern with the ability to recall potentially contaminated products. This was exactly the scenario for a supplier of biscuits and crackers to Aldi which you may have heard of in recent weeks.
When it is apparent that a rat or mouse population has established itself, it is possible to take a hands-on approach with poisons or traps. However, when a food manufacturer is faced with the need to eradicate rodents, professional, commercial pest control must be consulted.
Being vigilant in preventing infestation is the best option when weighed against the cost of shutting down and ruining the manufacturer’s reputation. Taking the steps necessary before a rodent infestation becomes established is the best approach.
An infestation is not only costly. Besides being more difficult to eradicate an established rodent population, the product is seen as contaminated by the customer.
The time to implement vigilance is before rodents take control of a manufacturing facility. Once the unwanted rodents take up residence in a food manufacturer’s facility, the product becomes tainted in more ways than one. When it comes to food service, reputation is everything.
Getting rid of rats is as hard as you want it to be.
The war against rats has never beed more important with an ever-increasing human population in the UK. As we expand our influence on the countryside, rats will continue to exploit opportunities. Its important to understand the entire picture when learning how to get rid of rats.
If you have a rat problem, you’re probably asking ‘How do I get rid of rats?’ Well, you have to start with the basics. Often during rat removal, no attention is paid to the environment. The pest control company is often assumed to have magic powers and is expected to perform the miracle of rat removal without the business owner tidying up. Well, We often get asked how to get rid of rats and when we survey the property, there will sometimes be foodstuff lying around the buildings. The client will often ask us questions like ‘Can you see why I have got rats? Is there anything obvious? Where are the rats coming from? Why?’
You have to open your eyes. Rats are the great survivors and will exploit any weakness. Why should a rat be interested in, say, 200g of rat poison when there is 100 metric tons of grain available because the grain store hasn’t been proofed? The answer: they won’t be.
Often, you probably don’t think that there is a chance of rats because the food you’re storing seems to be protected. Take the example of the photograph in this post. I took this on 20th January, 2016 in a very well respected company’s depot. This company is not negligent and they take pest control seriously. They called us in due to a rat problem and it was instantly obvious how to get rid of rats for them. The containers are called ‘dolavs’ and usually come with a lid. There were high protein and high carbohydrate waste foods in the dolavs which is exactly what the rats were feeding on. One dolav was damaged underneath meaning the rats could climb into the bottom and have a great time: It was a never-ending conveyor belt of food for them.
How to get rid of rats
The problem was quickly fixed and we’re currently visiting every few days in line with agreed guidelines in order to protect their great reputation. The problem is that the team that kept the depot clean had let their usually high standards slip. They had made it difficult to get rid of rats. The problem would never have occurred if the compound had been clean and tidy. Our technician spent only one and a half hours cleaning up the site, arranging it an a tidy fashion and removing all the food. Now that is done, getting rid of rats in this compound should be straightforward.
Keep your house in order and you’ll end up getting rid of rats much more quickly – and it’ll probably end up costing you less too.
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