Mouse control in the Food industry
Mouse control and that of other pests is not a task that can be completed only once, as is made clear by Food Standards Scotland.
The Food Safety Act 1990 provides the framework for all food legislation in Great Britain. The General Food Regulations 2004 (as amended) provides for the enforcement of certain provisions of Regulation (EC) 178/2002 in Scotland and Wales.
The Act states that “…to the purchaser’s prejudice, any person who, provides any food which is not of the nature or substance or quality demanded by the purchaser, shall be guilty of an offence”. It establishes the legal requirement that any business handling food for sale to the public should ensure that adequate procedures are in place for controlling pests… and it includes imposing penalties on those who fail to meet its high standards.
So you must be vigilant.
Vigilance, especially for any signs of mice or rats, must become part of your firm’s culture.
So what should you and your staff be vigilant for?
What signs will highlight that rats or mice might be present?
- Gnawed materials
- Teeth marks on food or wood
- Urine pillars: piles of dust, debris and urine
- A stale odour
- Smears left on pipes, entry points and on “runs”, left by the natural oil in the rodent’s skin
- Rodent tracks in dusty areas.
An active burrow’s entrance will be free from cobwebs and debris and any droppings in or around your premises must be investigated immediately, especially those that are shiny as they will be fresh.
Rodents carry a host of diseases including listeriosis, salmonella, Hantavirus, and others. They can contaminate food and drink with droppings, urine and hair. As if all that were not bad enough, they may also carry fleas that can transmit disease to humans when they bite.
The typical rats and mice that cause the problem most of the time are the house mouse, roof rat (aka black rat) and Norway rat. All share many things in common – they all want a place to nest, food to eat, and water to drink – but each has its own characteristics.
Mice are usually less than two inches in length and weigh about an ounce. Grey or dark in colour, mice are versatile and can fit in very small places, gaining access around cable lines, holes and even vents.
Rats are much bigger, often 10-16 inches in length, and typically grey, brown or black in colour.
Both rats and mice are excellent climbers and either needs only a very small external opening to get inside kitchens and other buildings.
If you see any of the signs above, what can be done?
Don’t panic. We provide pro-active pest control to many restaurants, hotels, shops and food production companies, both large and small, to help prevent rodent problems occurring.
By eliminating the food, water and shelter they need to thrive, you can also help control potential rodent problems around your premises.
If you maintain vigilance then rodents should never get a foothold and cause a risk to health.
Here are six processes you can ensure all your workers follow, which will help control the risk:
- Clean up weeds around your premises, to reduce shelter areas
- Trim tree limbs approximately six feet away from your roof
- Inspect your premises for holes and cracks as these offer easy access to rodents. Arrange to get holes fixed permanently, and in the meantime plug entry points with wire mesh
- Remove food from counters and store ingredients in heavy plastic or glass containers
- Do not discard fruit or vegetable peelings externally as this food will attract rodents
- Store garbage in metal or heavy-duty plastic containers with tight lids.
Controlling rodents today leaves fewer around next year to reproduce. So keep your eyes open and call us as soon as you see any of the indicators we list above.
Ideally, talk to us about scheduled inspections, which can help ensure your premises are always appropriately protected.