Fancy restaurant or neighbourhood hawker, guests are not the only visitors these venues can attract. If kitchen staff fail to keep pests out of their establishments, they could soon be faced with an infestation problem. This can cause serious health issues for everyone involved in the restaurant, including its patrons. In addition to that, it could result in legal action against you by regulators, significant product losses due to recalls, and even a public relations nightmare for your company. Most important of all, it can damage the company’s reputation. Don’t let this happen to your F&B establishment.

in this article we will discuss some common pest issues in food establishments and ways to deal with them.

Types of Pests

During the circuit breaker in Singapore, some eateries had stopped using pest control services to cut costs or due to being shut down temporarily. Shops closed during this period were at a higher risk of pest infestation as checks for signs of pests may not have been carried out. Common pests in the F&B industry include the following:

  • Rats – rats can cause damage more than any other pests as they tend to gnaw, feed, and breed in locations where food is processed. They also chew on electrical wires, contaminate foodstuff, mess up the surroundings, and spread fatal diseases, making their presence a nightmare.
  • Cockroach – Cockroaches are vectors for bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli. Being nocturnal pests, they come out at night in search for food. They multiply quickly, live up to a year, and can survive without food for up to 30 days. Cockroaches can also induce skin allergies in some people.
  • Flies – flies breed best when temperatures rise above 21 celsius, making them difficult to control. They feed off garbage and excrement, which causes food poisoning and the spread of diseases such typhoid. Additionally, flies can contaminate foods and packaging materials.
  • Beetles – beetles are known as stored product insects. They include flour mites and weevils which can contaminate foods with its pupae, shed skin, faeces, body parts, and webbing, resulting in spoilage and wastage of stored food products.
  • Moths – Indian Meal Moths tend to reside and reproduce indoors and are often found in kitchens, food stores, and industrial food processing plants. Because they eat anything containing grains or cereals, these moths cause numerous pest infestations in the food industry.

Pest Control Measures

There are various measures that can be taken to manage pests effectively. Depending on the type of operations, food establishments can employ either physical or chemical pest control measures at their premises.

Physical Pest Control Measures

If you want to ensure that your business remains pest-free, then you should follow a checklist. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Make sure that your premises are clean and free from debris. Clean up food and liquid spills as soon as possible
  2. Clean surfaces frequently to reduce the chances of pests getting into your premises
  3. Repair leaks immediately to prevent moisture spills. If necessary, seal cracks and crevices to avoid entry by pests
  4. Remove rubbish daily to prevent pests from breeding in it
  5. Avoid leaving food outside to avoid attracting pests
  6. Regularly check all food storage facilities to make sure that they are sealed properly
  7. Cover containers of foodstuffs with plastic bags to keep pests out. Inspect food supply packages for signs of rat bites
  8. Ensure all doors, entryways and windows are properly shut at the end of the day to prevent rats from entering

Chemical Pest Control Measures

Some establishments may require the use of chemicals such as pesticides to control pests within their premises. It’s only used if necessary and combined with other methods for better, long-term results. Pesticides should be strictly handled by pest control
operators due to the risk of possible food contamination and adverse health effects to
the users.

man checking for pests in kitchen

F&B Regulations on Pest Control

Whether you are the owner of a multi chain restaurant or a new cafe, NEA requires all F&B outlets in Singapore to obtain a license. One of the requirements to get this license is to have pest control and cleaning procedures during the year-long licensing period. The frequency of the inspection should be at least once a month covered in the contract.

To encourage operators to place greater emphasis on the overall hygiene standards of the premises, the Points Demerit System (PDS) was implemented. If a licensee accumulates a 12-point demerit, it will result in business suspension. Severe cases may result in business closure and licenses to be revoked.

Pest Control Management Program

Being in the F&B business, the problem of pests or vectors is very much alive. The above steps are some things you and your staff can keep doing regularly to ensure the cleanliness of your restaurant. To prevent pest infestation, you’ll need to take some proactive steps. The best solution is to ensure absolute cleanliness.

You can also hire a professional pest controller for regular inspections and preventative maintenance. Their expertise allows them to detect weak spots and devise ways to prevent pests from entering your eatery.

When you take steps to keep pests out of your F&B premise, it will benefit both your business and your guests. You also won’t have to constantly fear the round of inspections when the authorities knock on your door!