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Environmental Health
~ Ratonga Tiaki Taiao

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Pest Control

Setting a trap to catch pests.You don't just have to prevent microscopic 'bugs' but big ugly ones too. Pests are pests because they breed rapidly and are a problem in large numbers, because they are vehicles of contamination - they carry germs around on their bodies, and because they can be difficult to eradicate or keep out. But in the food industry it is essential that you control pests as they can be a real danger to your business. Some will just be a physical contaminant but others carry diseases harmful to humans. Either way the presence of pests shows that premises maintenance and cleaning are not up to the required standard.

You need to know how to recognise their presence, why they are hazardous, how to control them and how to control the controls.

Summary of Pest Control

Deny access to pests. It is much easier to prevent them getting in that it is to get them out again. Seal holes in walls and joinery, screen windows and doors, have self closing doors, ventilate the premise with a cool air flow, keep ingredients in well sealed containers that cannot be eaten and cover drain pies and roof vent openings with a fine mesh.

Be alert to signs of intruders. Inspect regularly to infestation of pests and effectiveness of control measures.

Don't provide food and harbourage. Ensure no dripping taps or pools of water are available. Ensure all foods are inaccessible, including refuse and pet food. Ensure no accumulation of yard materials as bedding or dens, keep woodpiles tightly stacked. Ensure rubbish is disposed of tidily and frequently, including the fat bin where used fat is collected for removal. Ensure stock is rotated and kept to a minimal in storage. Keep the premise clean, greasy or sticky walls provide a great source of food for cockroaches.

Make suitable arrangement for prompt destruction by a trained person when pests are noted. This may include neighbouring properties and may involve leaving the premises while fumes subside. Ensure any other pets, plants, fabrics etc that may need protection are also considered in the case of big time fumigation.

Controlling The Controls

If you use pest control chemicals yourselves, ensure you read the instructions and take all possible precautions, these things are toxic to us too. The only difference is it takes more to harm us because we are bigger. Be aware of the need for special gear to prevent accidental swallowing, inhalation or skin absorption of the poison and also be particularly careful of storage. Never leave poisons in an unmarked or otherwise marked container.

Sometimes, after pest control in the food preparation area you may need to do extra cleaning to remove any chemical residue form high risk surfaces. Ensure a good communication channel between staff so that every one knows when pest control contractors are due or have been in to prevent the control becoming a hazard of its own.

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