Ensuring food hygiene without insecticides

Food-processing factories have to meet the highest hygiene requirements, but are also an ideal habitat for storage pests. An infestation can have serious consequences for companies, up to and including the closure of operations. Heat treatment is particularly suitable for the food-processing industry, bakeries and mills, as it is a chemical- and residue-free process. Hotels also use heat treatment to combat bedbugs.

HACCP and GMP protect consumers and staff against health risks

The European Community requires companies to produce, process or distribute food to comply with HACCP regulations. HACCP means "Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points". The concept identifies and mitigates food safety risks along the entire value chain - including those of suppliers and packaging manufacturers. Even with internationally branched supply chains, the HACCP concept guarantees the safety of food for the end consumer. Pest control is an integral part of the HACCP concept and consists of inspection, identification, and control.

GMP (good manufacturing practice) identifies practices by which operating companies can reduce potential risks to food quality. As part of GMP, pest control protects end consumers, production personnel, and all other persons who come into contact with food. If contaminated with pests, possible health hazards are posed by bacteria, viruses, protozoa (unicellular organisms) and helminths (parasitic worms). In addition, HACCP and GMP-based pest control prevents the product from being contaminated by live or dead animals, eggs, excrement, or skin residues, for example.

Far-reaching consequences up to company closure in case of pest infestation

Pest infestation can have serious consequences, especially in the food-processing industry. If contamination is detected in a company, the raw materials, stocks and products concerned must be destroyed. Contamination may also affect the processing of products. The chemical and physical properties of ingredients may change, causing doughs to clump, for example, and the production process to be delayed. Production facilities may have to be taken out of operation or, in the worst case, may be damaged.

If contaminated products are placed on the market, the effects are even more serious. In addition to product recalls and serious damage to a company's image, there is also the threat of legal consequences. Pest contamination can lead to a (temporary) closure of the company. Pest monitoring and control are therefore absolutely essential in food-processing plants to combat cockroaches, bread beetles, moths, ants, mites, flies, beetles, mealworms, and other storage pests, and to protect the company from the fatal effects of their activity.

Many entry points and ideal living conditions for pests

Food processing factories attract pests through odours, waste, leftovers, lighting and warm temperatures. The animals find ideal conditions in the production and storage facilities: They live in a warm and dry environment, find food everywhere, and are protected from many natural predators. Without extensive counter-measures, they nest permanently and become a threat to the quality and safety of the processed products.

Pests are often introduced into a company with supplied goods. Dry foods such as seeds, nuts, dried fruits, milk powder, cereal flakes, preserved meat (dried meat) or tea, are particularly susceptible. Packaging material can also serve as an entry point: When small animals penetrate paper, cardboard, plastic, cellophane or film, the entry holes may not be visible to the naked eye. The pests are spread with the packaging.

Indications of pest infestation are small holes in nuts, cereals and other supplies, in addition to living and dead animals at each stage of development. Silky material on food leftovers or packaging also indicates contamination. In addition to visual inspection for pests, sticky traps are also available, which use scents or pheromones to attract many species such as food moths, beetles, cockroaches, and house crickets.

Ecological, thermal pest control: ideal for food companies

Heat treatment in food-processing plants enables operating companies to control common pests such as flour moths, flour beetles, tobacco beetles, sawtoothed grain beetles, etc. In rooms and machines with food contact, it is particularly important that the products do not come into contact with the insecticides. Thermal, chemical-free pest control is harmless in this respect. To treat a single machine, a partial treatment can be carried out in addition to a complete room treatment process. For this, non-fixed, easily dismantled machines are treated with heat in a separate room. Alternatively, a spatial boundary can be erected around a machine part, which dams the warm air, and enables the partial treatment of a machine. In addition to food-processing companies, animal feed manufacturers such as concentrated feed or pet food companies, mills and bakeries, also benefit from thermal pest control.

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