Food safety and sanitation in the restaurant industryFor restaurant owners, managers and workers, food safety and sanitation is a major concern. Even if a restaurant follows proper food handling guidelines, safety and sanitation can be compromised by the presence of pests. Even one pest in a restaurant environment can cause huge issues for customers, and for good reason. Many pests are known carriers of bacteria and diseases and can contaminate food surfaces, compromising sanitation and quality.
Some of the most common pests that frequent restaurants include:
- Rodents, which can spread several diseases, including Salmonellosis, an infection caused by Salmonella bacteria
- Cockroaches, which can spread bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella.
- Spiders, some of which may bite and can be harmless or venomous
- Mosquitoes, which can carry pathogens that cause diseases
- Birds, which can spread disease and leave unsanitary droppings
- Stored product pests, which can leave behind eggs and larvae
How commercial pest control service can helpIn addition to compromising hygiene, pest infestations in restaurants can harm reputations, turn away customers and even bring regulatory fines. That makes them a serious business threat to any restaurant or food establishment. To counteract pest dangers, a professional pest control plan specifically designed for restaurants is the best course of action. In fact, the National Restaurant Association recommends taking a proactive approach to lowering a restaurant’s risk for pest issues by focusing on sanitation, structure and storage preventative measures and by scheduling regular inspections with a pest control company.
Professional, commercial pest control experts understand the specific needs of restaurants as well as how to comply with federal food service regulations and local health codes.
Professional pest control technicians also understand how to identify structural and sanitation threats to remove pest risks, plus how proactive prevention and monitoring strategies can stop new pest problems before they start. Professional programs address the reasons why pests may be present and include thorough inspections of the interior and exterior of facilities, identification of pests and activity analysis, treatment of affected areas and methods for controlling pests, and recommendations for limiting and helping to prevent pest activities. IPM also includes continuous evaluation of treatment effectiveness and education of facility staff to address actions and conditions affecting pest activity.
What to look for in a commercial pest control service
It’s also important to select a pest control company that offers customized, comprehensive service for restaurants, and that understands the importance of discreet, on-demand treatments that minimize disruption for customers. Another factor to consider when choosing a pest control company is whether a service guarantee is offered.
What you can do to help prevent pests
In addition to getting help from a professional pest control company, there are some steps that restaurants can take to help prevent pest problems and to ensure food safety and sanitation, including:
- Keep doors, windows and screens closed to discourage pest entry
- Seal any cracks and crevices in the building, even small ones
- Keep food covered
- Clean spills as soon as possible
- Carefully inspect food deliveries and shipments for the presence of pests
- Store food containers on the floor
- Be diligent about trash and garbage disposal, and make sure that garbage cans and receptacles have well-fitting lids that remain closed when not in use
Even if a restaurant is spotless and all food safety guidelines are followed meticulously, a single pest can ruin a customer’s perception of cleanliness, as well as ruin his or her appetite. In the short- and long-term, it’s well worth it to have a pest control plan for restaurants in place to maintain food safety, sanitation and good customer relations.