All food businesses have one nightmare in common, which is rodents. They appear randomly out of nowhere and disappear into thin air. However, is that the case? According to environmental hygienists, on average, we are never more than 10 feet away from a rat in the western world.
That’s shocking news since it means that rat concentrations could be higher than ever in history. With the reported upsurge in food poisoning cases, mainly regarding e. coli, salmonella, and listeria, the presence of rodents needs to be controlled via professional means in food preparation areas.
In the past, when sewers would run open in the middle of the streets of all towns, it was common to find rats scurrying around everywhere. Today, many people get very fearful whenever they see a rat or mouse. It might be common to see rats around farmhouses in the countryside, but in an urban environment, seeing a rat indoors requires making emergency calls to the exterminator.
Rats are not fun to have around the house. They leave the foul smell of their urine in the places they hide, which is very hard to eliminate. If a rat targets your home, you can be sure it will be incredibly challenging to get rid of. To further make matters worse, if it chooses to set up shop in your washing machine, the machine will be so bad that you will probably be forced to buy a new one.
Just like any other animal species, rodents require an environment in which they can thrive. They need food, water, warmth, and a place to live. In addition, rodents are social animals that don’t like living solitary lives. It, therefore, means that any environment they choose to live in must be able to support several individuals.
People often assume that rodents will come to their homes due to a slice of bread that was left out or because of a few crumbs that spilt on the floor. However, that notion isn’t necessarily true. Rodents require more than just a solitary piece of food.
Food establishments can be ideal locations for rodents to thrive since they can find environments capable of supporting entire colonies around food outlets.
The term environment as used here refers to the following: Your premises, the neighboring premises, your roof, the drainage system, your store rooms, the garbage collection area, the roof, other store rooms in the immediate area such as vegetable stores, butchers, bakeries, the condition of housing around your establishment, and numerous other possible factors. All the elements mentioned above contribute to creating an environment where rodents can thrive.
You need to know one thing about rodents. Anywhere they are able to squeeze their head through, they are able to get their entire bodies through in just a matter of seconds. Rats are capable of swimming through a drain water trap and squeezing through the grate of a drain and actually have no problem doing this.
Highly populated areas are excellent environments for opening all kinds of food businesses but are also, unfortunately, ideal environments for rodents. As human beings, we have developed the ability to control environments, and the critical point about pest control in a food establishment is controlling the environment around your business.
It is no short order. As previously suggested, numerous factors contribute to the environment in which your business is located from the rat’s perspective. First, there’s the question of resident rodent infestation. Is your business located in a building with an existing rodent problem?
Keep in mind that it will be significantly harder to eliminate rodents that have inhabited your surroundings for decades than it can be to prevent the infestation of mice and rats in the first place. This is because of the fact that they have the advantage of knowing the terrain while you may be new to the lay of the land.
The following areas form part of your infrastructure: exterior walls and piping, sewers and drains, rendering, areas under roofs, wall cavities, ovens (especially those with insulation), dry store rooms, box collection areas, trash can areas, vegetation around your business including trees, neighboring businesses regardless of type, linen areas, boxes with stored equipment mainly if isn’t used regularly, service cupboards, as well as toilet areas.
The places that rodents can inhabit are countless. The secret to controlling the presence of rodents in your business is to control their potential environment. It would help if you thought from the perspective of the rodent. It would help if you controlled everything that goes on in and around your business.
The presence of cats is another good indicator of the presence of rats. Cats are also pests that inhabit environments capable of supporting them. In most instances, they will happily share these environments with cats. Alley cats aren’t good ratters since they don’t need them for food. After all, why fight a rat if it can feed off scraps?
Controlling the environment in which your business is located involves a working system as well as having the staff do it. Waiters and chefs mustn’t deal with pest control. They must never contaminate themselves by cleaning the contaminated areas.
All responsible businesses need to hire general staff to ensure that the area inside and outside the business is kept spotless at all times. Waiters, chefs, and sore workers also need to ensure that the areas they are directly responsible for are kept tidy and hygienic at all times.
Any restaurant team that finishes their shift just 10 minutes before they go home can never clean the business properly. At least 1 hour of solid cleaning is needed, twice daily at least, to ensure that a food preparation business environment stays clean and controlled from a vermin aspect.
Furthermore, rodent control contractors should make fortnightly visits to appraise the presence of vermin both in and around your business. Drain pumps should also be carried out at least once monthly by an authorized contracting or municipal authority.
Only after paying attention to every detail concerning the hygienic state in and around your business can you be reasonably assured that you are protecting your customers against diseases transmitted by rodents and other pests.