As the freezing cold weather is upon us, and the dark nights are firmly in place, food business operators should continue to check for pests in and around their premises. At this time of year, any small gaps around doors or holes in the fabric of a building can provide easy access for rats and mice looking for sustenance for the winter.
While it is a legal requirement, and part of HACCP to pest proof your business, the dark mornings and afternoons mean it might not be possible for staff to make thorough checks for evidence of pest activity. Where evidence of pest infestation is found, you must take immediate steps to eliminate the activity and destroy any food which may have been contaminated by the pests.
Good practice includes:
- Sealing all holes, gaps and cracks in walls and ceilings
- Keeping doors closed when not in use
- Installing bristle strips at the base of doors
- Maintaining the premises and its surrounds in a clean condition
- Storing all foods, equipment and containers above floor level
- Keeping the refuse area clean and tidy
- Removing unused equipment from the premises to eliminate harbourage of pests
- Engaging the services of a pest controller to routinely check your premises
Your staff should be trained to look for signs of droppings, damaged or gnawed packaging and report any defects in the food premises to their manager. Book an upcoming Food Hygiene Course/HACCP training course or contact an EHAI approved trainer https://ehai.ie/trainers/ to ensure your staff are trained to recognise the signs of these unwanted guests!