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Don’t let uninvited guests ruin your audit #pestcontrol

Expert spotlight: Premier Pest Control Services

The discovery of rat droppings, roosting birds or an infestation of flies can spell disaster for companies at an audit. If you’re responsible for the manufacture, processing, packaging or storage of food, pest control should always be high on the agenda. Knowing what, where and how to inspect for unwelcome visitors (and how to remove them permanently) takes the knowledge and experience of a professional pest control contractor.

Premier Pest Control Services was founded by Terry and Chris Cunningham and they and their team  have been giving advice to those operating within the food industry for many years. They are experts in providing fully-compliant pest control service to BRC, EFSIS and SALSA customers and their commitment and attention to detail means that their customers have never had a pest-related non-conformance during an audit.

Pests spread disease via faeces and urine, regurgitated food, body parts and through damage to packaging in storage areas. Due to their nomadic nature they are responsible for the spread of pathogens such as salmonella, E-Coli, toxoplasmosis, listeria, tuberculosis and gastroenteritis. It’s therefore imperative for food safety that pests are kept under control. The level of seriousness attributed to pest control within a company can also mean the difference between being awarded/retaining and losing a valuable contract with a major retailer, as Terry explains:

“Companies can lose £1000s in export orders if, for example, rat droppings are found, so it’s always worth spending time and money to ensure that all bases are covered. Sometimes we’ll visit premises for the first time and will be astonished that employees are not taking even the simplest of measures to keep pests out. Like keeping doors to a production area closed.”

It’s not only production areas that require attention. Chris adds “There have been instances where pigeons have been roosting or nesting in a warehouse where foodstuffs or raw ingredients are being stored. Obviously this has meant considerable mess with the potential of highly toxic droppings permeating the food.”

Here are 8 common pitfalls identified by Premier Pest Control Services on a regular basis:

8 Common Pest Control Pitfalls

1. Not shutting doors – doors to production areas should be secured at all times

2. Leaving windows open – any open windows should be guarded by insect screens

3. Leaving bins uncovered – especially those containing food waste

4. Not cutting back vegetation around the premises – this attracts rodents and insects

5. Putting fly units over food surfaces – if they are too shallow the insects will drop out of the tray

6. Allowing birds to nest under the eaves/roof of a building

7. Holes and gaps in the building fabric – allows insects and rodents access

8. Not cleaning down equipment sufficiently – insects can breed in the smallest of spaces

What can I expect from a professional Pest Control Contractor?

Getting to the source of the infestation and thinking ahead is key to ensuring that your premises pass an audit. Pests can enter food preparation, storage and packaging areas through the tiniest space and once they have gained access they will breed. Insects can fly through the tiniest space in a window or door; mice can squeeze themselves through gaps as small as 7mm.

Premier Pest Control can help you to prepare for your next audit by performing their own inspection of your premises. All members of the team fully understand the food manufacturing process and have food safety qualifications themselves, including HACCP. Importantly they have close contact with BRC auditors and know exactly what they are looking for – not only for BRC V6, but also for Packaging BRC V4 and transport and non-food BRC. They also advise companies undergoing audits by major retailers.

Following the initial visit, your contractor will produce a report of their findings. This will detail current and potential sites of breaches or infestations and their recommendations. As well as producing reports, Premier Pest Control is also able to provide a range of solutions such as:

  • pesticide-free pest control services
  • chemical-free fumigation services
  • electronically targeted hygiene and proofing audits
  • electronic rodent capture with immediate electronic alert
  • and the latest electronic fly killers (including catch tray analysis)

In addition they offer comprehensive silo cleaning and deep cleaning of food equipment and production spaces as well as the supply and fitting of insect screens, PVC curtains and doors, brush strips and other proofing solutions.

Like Verner Wheelock Associates, PPC has a longstanding team of professionals behind a family firm so you can expect a more personal service than you might expect from the larger multinational companies. Moreover the company typically charges 25% less for pest control services. PPC has offices in Bradford, Scarborough and Middlesbrough, but has customers across the UK, from London to Scotland and is a member of the British Pest Control Association.

For more information, please contact Claire Lennon at Verner Wheelock Associates. Tel 01756 700802 or email claire.lennon@vwa.co.uk