From Prevention to Treatment – The Rules and Regulations Surrounding Pests and Food Safety
94% of consumers say they have avoided a business because of a negative online review, according to research from Northwestern University. While 22% of consumers say they won’t dine at a restaurant after reading just one negative review, maintaining a good impression through a sanitary and healthy environment is essential in keeping and increasing a loyal customer base. As such, this includes keeping roaches and other pests out, though for those new to the industry, the rules and regulations surrounding pest control can be confusing. From understanding the law to taking the proper preventative measures, here’s just a brief overview of pest control when it comes to restaurants.
Understanding the FSMA
Flies, cockroaches, and rodents are just a few of the most common pests that restaurants face. The health risks involved with such pests make their presence particularly dangerous in a food setting — for instance, flies not only spread bacteria, fungi, and viruses but are also known to carry pathogens like Salmonella and E.coli, notes one article from the Food Safety Magazine. Cockroaches and rodents also have the potential to carry a wide range of diseases and can easily contaminate equipment, surfaces, and more, highlighting the value of proper pest control measures in maintaining a reputable and sanitary establishment while also abiding by the law.
Signed into law in 2011, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) “aimed to prevent any foodborne by shifting the focus of food safety regulations from any treatment to prevention”. For restaurants, the preventative plans and actions requirements, and the increase in compliance inspections are two ways in which the FSMA affects those within the industry.
That said, it’s important to keep in mind that there are additional regulations to abide by, thus underlining the importance of being well-educated on the law and the details involved. For example, you’re not legally allowed to treat a pest infestation in your restaurant with pesticides (as only certified commercial pesticide applicators can be used to treat an infestation in such an establishment).
While navigating pest control matters as a new restaurant owner can feel intimidating, enlisting the help of professionals will help ensure that the matter is addressed in a safe way. As such, contacting a professional, licensed pest control operator for both pest control plans and treatment in the event of an infestation can be paramount in properly maintaining a safe and healthy restaurant environment for customers and staff alike.
The benefits of Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
According to the Food Safety Magazine, Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is defined as “the use of integrated techniques, such as exclusion, sanitation, and baiting, to control pests.” The post further goes on to highlight the role that management tools play (reports of pest location, etc.), as well as the importance of using the least toxic methods to get the job done. When looking to begin an IPM program, the article notes that contacting a professional pest management company can be a great place to start, as well as doing a thorough cleaning.
In the case of cockroaches, for example, cleaning will aid in removing roach feces and food sources for the pest. From there, the Food Safety Magazine notes that sealing up cracks/crevices will work to eliminate shelter for roaches, while a pest management professional (PMP) will likely want to monitor for current/further infestations with the help of sticky traps or bait. Because what works for managing roaches may not be the greatest course of action where other pests are concerned, consulting with a PMP will help decide the best route for your restaurant, advises the post.
Additional Precautions Worth Taking about Pests and Food Safety
Aside from getting the professionals involved when looking to properly address pests in regard to treatment and prevention methods, additional precautions can further aid in preventing pests in the first place. Practicing basic food safety measures, such as carrying out regular deep cleanings, storing food properly, and proactively maintaining aspects of maintenance (sealing up openings, etc.), will all help greatly in keeping pests at bay.
Sticking to a regular schedule is just one great way to ensure that practices like deep cleanings and routine maintenance is adhered to, while pest control training (which may be offered by your local pest control company) can further illuminate the value in the matter. Keeping employees well informed regarding pest control will further work to establish the importance of the matter, and can highlight the importance of reporting the issue should pests happen to arise.
Pest control is a basic and essential element to every successful restaurant and can prove to be key in running a positively reviewed establishment that adheres to the regulations set by the FDA. By working with professionals regarding prevention and treatment to the value of taking additional precautions, maintaining a pest-free and healthy restaurant environment can be made simple.