Woman cleaning table in restaurant, and man behind her sweeping

How clean is your hospitality business? You are challenged!

Are your employees and guests safe against pests?

Restaurants, commercial kitchens, and other businesses in the foodservice industry have a responsibility for protecting public health by preventing contamination of food and transmission of pest-borne diseases inside their premises.

Food safety legislation mandates that food handling businesses terminate pests, and prevent food contamination by taking effective measures:

Hospitality and foodservice standard operating procedures (SOPs) are written practices and procedures of how your establishment will produce safe food. SOPs are a key component of your overall operational and food safety program.

Restaurant Operating procedures are as important as your brand and the food you serve makes a statement to the public. You probably spend countless hours deciding on the menu and décor, or choosing the right employees, but do you have standard operating procedures for health and safety, that include Pest Control in your restaurant? These do not only protect the guests visiting your restaurant or hospitality businesses however the Team behind the food, the employees.

Written processes are very important for many reasons namely training, safety, health and wellness, and the organization within your restaurant. By documenting the restaurant operating procedures, your managers and staff will have guidelines that they can follow. This creates a consistent and predictable work environment and a safe work experience for your employees and guests.

OPTIMAN offers a guideline, however every establishment will have its own set of SOP’s that are unique. Apart from causing food contamination, pests can also impact the restaurant’s profitability through replacement costs, damaged reputation, loss of sales, and losing irreplaceable clientele. Potential loss due to litigation from public and regulatory authorities.

Rats and mice are the most common pests found infesting restaurants, cafes, commercial kitchens, and other foodservice businesses. These creatures are attracted by strong smells, consistent food supplies and do not venture far from their nesting sites for feeding. Restaurants make the perfect place for them to inhabit. Rats and mice are capable of rapid multiplication in a favourable habitat like hospitality businesses and restaurants. Rodents are a huge concern to the restaurant industry as they are known to cause damage to both buildings, fixtures, and electrical equipment due to nesting, burrowing, and gnawing. Rodents also cause loss of stock through not only eating food items but also damaging food containers and packaging and urinating in food.

Rodents are known to spread a range of diseases such as Salmonella which can contaminate food items and equipment because of their urine and droppings. Ensuring an effective pest management program is in place to control rodents is vital. Storing items in airtight containers. Clean shelving. Waste food removed and cleaned regularly.

Cockroaches are the most common type of crawling insect that infests restaurants and other food businesses. They cause particular problems because of their size, giving them the ability to hide in small spaces. Cockroaches are primarily nocturnal, hiding in the daytime and coming out at night to feed. They hide in dark places such as cracks, crevices, drains, sewers, inside equipment and furnishings, and hidden spaces that provide the right temperature and humidity with close proximity to water and food. The impact of cockroaches in restaurants and commercial kitchens poses a risk to food safety.

They are known to carry a number of disease-causing bacteria such as Salmonella and E.coli which can easily contaminate both food, packaging, machinery, and cooking utensils through their urine, droppings, and saliva. They are also known to trigger asthma attacks. Effective cleaning and sanitation practices prevent infestations. Storing food in airtight containers as well as maintaining drainage and following a frequent cleaning schedule.

There are numerous commercial extermination and control solutions available for the management of cockroaches, these include sprays, aerosols, dust, and bait. There are stricter regulations for control near food, food handling, and storage areas, to prevent contamination of foods with poisons.

There is a number of different flies which are attracted to food odours that are generated by commercial kitchens such as fruit flies, drain flies, and house flies. Different types of flies are attracted to different food products, however, they all pose the same risk to food safety. Due to their feeding and breeding habits, flies are a huge risk. They are known to transmit over 200 different disease-causing pathogens which, can lead to the contamination of food items, machinery, and cooking utensils, posing a risk to both staff and customer health. Ensuring a high standard of clinical hygiene is particularly important for controlling flies to help reduce the attraction to your restaurant by reducing the number of food sources and breeding sites. Keeping windows and doors shut, installing fly screens, and making sure drains are clear and free from debris are effective solutions.

Basic protocols can minimize the risk of infestation, for example disposing of infested food products, regularly. Monitoring stored food for signs of contamination, and the application of proper sanitation and cleaning practices. All pest control points where the public or staff have access must be covered for safety. Avoid using electrical shock equipment to control flies and other insects, the explosion of the insect can shed its debris into open food containers.

Implement a regular monthly Pest Control inspection and request a follow up if any irregularities are found.

Marius Joubert
Author: Marius Joubert

Founder of Restauranthub.co the first true community for the restaurant and hospitality industry.

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