Articles and Information from GA Foods

How to Prevent Roaches and Other Pests in Your Dining Facility

Posted by Lou Hurd, Plant Manager on Jul 27, 2016 11:00:00 AM

With so many people relying on your facility for their daily nutrient needs, any evidence of pests can be devastating. Implementing sanitation procedures and creating an unfriendly environment for pests such as roaches, can help you keep things running smoothly and your clients fed.

Create a Hostile Environment for Pests through Sanitation

Pests are attracted to kitchen environments for many of the same reasons as humans. They are warm, they have wonderful smells coming from them and there is a supply of food. While common sense dictates carefully cleaning your kitchen to keep pests away, it goes beyond a general cleaning to create a hostile environment for pests. In food service, sanitation is key to creating a hostile environment for pests, and there are several steps involved in the process.

1. Seal all possible points of entry into your buildingcaulking.jpg

While it may not curb all roaches or some other types of pests from coming into your kitchen since they often find entry through shipments being received, you can significantly reduce the chance of pest infestation by sealing up any outside points. Look for even the smallest of openings around pipes, gas lines or vent ducts since pests and rodents can fit into very small spaces. A fully-grown rat can squeeze itself through a 1-inch opening, so if the opening is too large to seal with caulking, cover it with a screen.

Despite the heat that may collect in a dining facility, it is necessary to keep exterior doors closed to prevent entry. While receiving shipments and outgoing items may require frequent opening of doors, be sure your doors are closed immediately and are not blocked open for any length of time.

2. Outdoor cleanliness matters

Always keep the area outside of your facility free of trash and make sure any garbage containers are emptied regularly. Pests are attracted by organic matter breaking down, so the cleaner you can keep your disposal area, the better.

3. Practice good housekeepingsanitizing.png

Encourage your staff and volunteers to clean up spills immediately and to always thoroughly sanitize equipment after each use. When you consider the size of most pests, it does not take much for them to find a reliable source of food in your kitchen. Pay special attention to areas such as the space around mixers (where flour dust may go unnoticed) and meat grinders (make sure small particles of meat do not remain around the unit). Other areas of particular concern include drains, where organic matter can collect, and trash containers that need frequent emptying and cleaning.

4. Food must be adequately stored

The easier it is for pests and rodents to access food, the more likely you will be to face a problem with them. Whenever possible, use airtight containers to store dry goods and never leave bags of flour, oats or other grains open. Teach employees to put away items quickly when they are finished with them so the possibility of infestation is greatly reduced. Working clean helps make general housekeeping and sanitation efforts less taxing.

5. Limit the areas of food consumption and storage

If you have locker space for employees, they should be cleaned regularly, and food storage, other than the day's lunch or dinner, should not be allowed. Define an area for employees to eat, be it a break room or one area of your facility, and encourage them to keep it clean. These areas should be regularly given a thorough cleaning and included in your sanitation program so pests are deterred from finding a food source this way.

6. Select your pest control company carefully

Eradicating pests through pesticide use should be your last defense since it often results in product loss and downtime for your facility. Many pest management companies offer preventative services designed to be effective within food handling guidelines and can reinforce your sanitation efforts. Pest control should be considered a complement to your sanitation program rather than your sole protection.

Creating a hostile environment for pests and rodents is critical to your dining facility's success. With you and your employees working together to eliminate a food supply or comfortable habitation, you can prevent roaches, pests and rodents from putting your clients and your facility at risk.

GA Foods' goal is to become the industry gold standard in food safety and facility sanitation. We also want to help other dining sites and facilities excel in food safety practices. We have created a FREE self-audit checklist to help prepare your site for health inspections and ensure your team is following HACCP standards.

Download Free Health Inspection Self-Audit

 

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Everything you NEVER Wanted to Know about Roach and Other Pest Infestations

Posted by Frank Curto, Phd on Jul 20, 2016 11:00:00 AM

cockroach.jpgRoaches and other pests are, of course, a major concern for dining facilities – and the food industry as a whole. Aside from the basic “yuck factor”, which can certainly impact your customer base, these pests can be a serious health hazard to both workers and customers and can damage your bottom line via the destruction/contamination of products.

For these reasons, pest management is an integral part of day-to-day operations, and a good management plan depends heavily on knowing as much as possible about the issues you are working to prevent or resolve. To that end, here is everything you never wanted to know about roach and other common pest infestations.

About Roaches

Roaches – or cockroaches – are one of the most common pests to infest food service operations, and these pests have some very unpleasant characteristics. Among the most important of these is the fact that many have been shown to carry as many as 50 disease-causing microorganisms, according to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), including those at the root of diseases like salmonella, cholera, typhoid and dysentery, among others.

As these pests invade stored foods or scuttle across surfaces, dishes and utensils, they can leave these pathogens behind, spreading these illnesses to your customers and workers. Roaches are also the source of allergens that can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive people and respiratory symptoms in asthma sufferers.

All roaches are nocturnal insects. Some types live primarily outdoors, making nighttime raids on food service facilities, while others move right in, hiding during the day and foraging at night. All reproduce at a rapid rate, with females producing up to 40 eggs per month.

Since roaches typically make themselves scarce when people are about, they can be difficult to detect – especially during the early stages of infestation. Signs to watch for include roach droppings – which typically look like bits of pepper – around likely hiding places. These may include cracks, crevices, under shelf liners, beneath or behind appliances, in storage areas, around garbage or in basements and/or drainage areas. Additionally, inspecting the facility after dark – walking into a dark, quiet area and switching the lights on – can reveal roach activity that might otherwise go undetected.

Rodent Invasions

Mice and rat infestations are another very common problem in dining facilities. These pests can present serious health hazards – carrying and spreading diseases that include salmonella hantavirus, tularemia, plague and typhus. They can be extremely destructive as well, invading and contaminating food supplies, and gnawing away at walls, electrical wires and much more as they make themselves at home in your facility.

Telltale signs of rodent infestations include a musty smell, brown droppings shaped like grains of rice and signs of gnawing on food packaging, trash bins and/or other items. Often, inspections done at night with a flashlight can catch these pests in action.

Flies

These flying insects – most commonly houseflies and/or fruit flies – are another pest that commonly plagues food service facilities. These creatures also have the potential to spread disease, often carrying a range of pathogens – as many as 100, according to Food Safety Magazine – that can cause diseases that include typhoid, cholera, salmonella, dysentery, and parasitic worms. These insects breed in areas that contain moist organic materials – food scraps, for example – such as garbage bins, drains or the floors in food preparation areas.

Efficient Facility Sanitation Procedures: Your First Line Of Defense Against Insect and Rodent Infestations

These pests invade dining facilities because they provide reliable sources of food and water. Integrated pest management can make these facilities less attractive to pests. Efficient sanitation procedures are an integral part of any good pest management plan – helping to prevent new infestations or resolve existing ones.

Sanitation measures that are key to preventing or resolving these issues include keeping foods in airtight containers and storing them at least 5 to 7 inches above the floor, keeping floors and surfaces free of food debris, thoroughly cleaning areas that collect organic waste – floors, floor drains and garbage bins, for instance – at least twice weekly, removing food cartons immediately after unpacking.

Leaving a clear space along walls – inside your facility and outdoors – can help discourage rodents, as can keeping clutter – handy for nesting – at a minimum throughout your facility. Inspecting for roach droppings regularly and removing any that are found is also important, since these are an important food source for newly hatched insects.

A good pest control specialist can advise you on other measures to take to discourage pests, such as sealing entry points, controlling moisture, baits, traps, poisons and effective inspection techniques. However, good sanitation is considered by many such experts as the single most effective means of pest control.

GA Foods' goal is to become the industry gold standard in food safety and facility sanitation. We also want to help other dining sites and facilities excel in food safety practices. For more information on pest management in food service, download our tip sheet:

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