The inspection should identify anything that might cause or allow contamination of food by pests or their activity.
Proper pest identification:
For good pest control, accurate identification is essential. Correct identification of pest species and a practical knowledge of pest behaviour will determine the source and therefore the target area for control.
The more common pests can usually be identified from textbooks. In some cases however, particularly relating to flies or stored product insects, more specialized identification may be required.
Use of generic or historical information:
The pest control report book should be examined prior to commencing the inspection. A site plan and the last report should be carried during the survey.
Reference to reports covering the previous twelve months may be useful in determining seasonal variations in pest activity or focal points of infestations.
Pest sightings or “complaints”:
Pest sightings or complaints made by personnel other than those involved in pest management should be investigated.
The extent of the inspection and the areas included should cover the entire site including grounds within the perimeter, all buildings and all areas within buildings.
Each site should be divided into high-intermediate-low risk areas.
High risk areas
Areas where there is a greater risk of compromising food safety from pest activity or where the product is particularly high risk.
Typical high-risk areas and potential pests would be:
Areas where there is a risk of compromising food safety from pest activity but where the product is not particularly high risk.
Low risk areas
Areas where there is minimal risk of compromising food safety from pest activity or where the product is low risk.
Types of information gathered on-site:
The information gathered can be divided into two areas.
Information on the pests:
Information on the premises:
Sources of information:
Information can be collected from four sources during the inspection:
From the Pest Sightings Log – this is likely to be historical, as the reported sighting would in most cases have resulted in a call-out to address the problem.
From site management and staff – while this is a worthwhile source, any information should be confirmed by a thorough inspection of the area. Third party reports may not be accurate concerning the type of pest, numbers seen or timescale due to the vagaries of the human memory.
From evidence found on detectors – this can be a valuable source of evidence of recent pest activity. On the presumption that the detectors were refreshed on the last inspection, any pests found will have emerged in the intervening period. Sticky traps, Electric Fly Killer (EFK) catch trays and pheromone traps have the advantage over an inspection in that they are active 24 hours per day over an extended period.
From visible evidence – while detectors can provide evidence of pest activity, they rely in the main on the pest coming to them. The information may not be defined whereas an experienced inspector has the knowledge of pest behaviour and biology to find and identify the source of an infestation. A physical inspection also allows a risk assessment on any proposed treatment to be carried out in addition to fulfilling a quality control function on the pest management programme.
Inspection checklists and other documentation can be used to record any trend in pest activity and highlight particular problem areas.
The information used in the analysis can be obtained from:
The analysis can assist in targeting control strategies, reacting to seasonal increases in pest activity or identifying shortcomings in site procedures such as door discipline.
Surveillance of adjacent properties and suppliers:
Adjacent properties whether occupied or not and open sites should be monitored as possible sources of infestation. Both insects and rodents have the ability to migrate from adjacent sites – in the case of flying insects this can involve movement over considerable distances.
Due to environmental considerations the use of permanent perimeter bait stations containing toxic rodenticide baits can no longer be justified. Inspection and the use of a non-toxic monitoring system should be preferred with toxic bait being used only when signs of rats are found.
Suppliers should be frequently audited. Close monitoring of all supplier practices should be carried out. Appropriate sampling techniques of received goods should be implemented.
Suggested inspection tools:
Other items may include:
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