Control panel – Quality assurance and food safety

64% of respondents felt that their current programs were sufficient without a technological component.

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Despite the best preventative measures, it is inevitable that a mouse or rat will enter the food facility at some point, requiring control practices. In most cases, this control would have been provided by an outsourced pest control operator (PCO) for general pest control (62%) and rodent control (69%) services (Table 10).

In addition, although used to varying degrees, the types of control were similar for exterior and interior monitoring (Table 11):

• Rodenticide in tamper-proof bait stations. These can be beneficial outdoors and when allowed indoors, not only for controlling rodents with rodenticides, but also for monitoring the presence and location of rodents. This then allows appropriate controls to be put in place.

• Structural modifications / exclusions. By repairing spaces or holes, shielding vents, etc., through which rodents can enter from outside or rush into a building, rodent movement can be limited and, again, better controlled.

• Sticky or instant traps. Like bait stations, traps can both capture rodents and monitor their activity. However, they are much more visible, so you have to pay attention to their placement.

• Repellents. Like structural modifications, keeping rodents away through the use of repellents helps prevent rats and mice from entering or roaming freely within a facility.

Control technologies.

Over the past five years, new technologies have been introduced for rodent control, two of which are the most prominent: reproduction controls and electronic rodent monitoring (ERM). While about half of the survey respondents knew at least a little about each of them and were interested in them, few had implemented either. (Table 12)

The fact that the other half of the respondents do not know or are not interested in one or the other of the technologies partly explains this. But it is also likely that a reason for not implementing reproduction control was similar to that of 64% of respondents for not implementing ERM: “It is not necessary; our current rodent control measures are sufficient.

The lower response rate may also mean that continuing education of clients that both of these options exist may be helpful.

Whether food facilities were controlling rodents with standard methods, such as bait stations, traps, repellents and exclusion, or implemented newer technologies, such as reproductive controls and ERM , the fact that 64% of respondents thought their current programs were sufficient without the addition of a technological component is quite a positive sign. As well as the decrease in rodent observations in catering establishments over the years of the QA / Senestech surveys (from 95% in 2017 to 52% in 2020, table 2, page 3.)

With rodent management systems continuing to evolve to improve the proven control measures used by food establishments (Table 10), there are many options and few reasons to tolerate rodents and damage, disease, contaminations, citations. inspection / audit and customer concerns that result from their rapid replication.

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