Pest Management for Food Processing

Pest infestations are proving to be very costly for food manufacturers and processors as they can cause damage, spread disease with the contamination food. In this industry the quality and hygiene standard have to be of the highest order, where even minor pest activity is totally unacceptable.

Preventative controls surrounding risk minimisation of an initial infestation is the sole responsibility of a food processor. Regulation (EC) 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs states that businesses must ensure that the layout, design, construction and size of food premises shall permit good food hygiene practices; this includes protection against cross contamination between and during operations by external sources of contamination such as pests.

Treating such pest infestations immediately and effectively is key. Phosphine fumigation is an acceptable method of treatment for most bulk food stuffs including cereals, grains, dried fruits, nuts, cocoa beans, coffee beans and rice. This works by releasing the active ingredient from the metallic phosphide compounds which then react with water vapour in the atmosphere to release Phosphine gas. The process eliminates all life stages of the target insect pests (beetles, mites, moths and weevils) with the advantage of being non tainting and leaving no pesticide residues.

For the fumigant to work effectively sufficient time must be allowed. The time ‘under gas’ is referred to as the exposure period and for Phosphine this is unlikely to be less than 48 hours. Additional time should be added to ventilate the commodity to ensure it is free from all traces of the pesticide gas.

Rentokil design bespoke services for food manufacturers and processors to ensure that pest activity will not have a negative impact on their standards, or those of your customers and auditors. Rentokil tailor services specifically to the facility and always take into account the particular pest threats according to the type of food processing (ambient, chilled, etc…), the input ingredients and output food products.

Check out our Phosphine Fumigation video which gives further insight into the technique.

  1. Keith V. Birkemeyer

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