Pest control

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Is there a documented pest control program in place and what systems are in place to support that the program is effective (e.g. records, reports, verification, GMP audits, pest register).  

For the relevant legislative references in the Export Control (Milk and Milk Products) Rules 2021, please refer to the department’s, Approved Arrangement Checklist.

Your site must have an effective pest control program in place in order to comply with the Food Standards Code and your Approved Arrangement.  You will need to demonstrate that you are taking all practicable measures to prevent any pests from contaminating the products with harmful bacteria and foreign matter.

You may consider nominating a person to be responsible for managing the program and to be a point of contact for any pest contractors to discuss and review any issues the site may have.

You may need to consider developing a list of all pests which have the potential to cause a hazard to your site which allows you to develop preventative measures for each hazard. Some pests may only affect your establishment on a seasonal basis, so this needs to be considered as you will need to increase the treatment to eradicate or deter them during prevalent times.

You are responsible for maintaining your pest control program to ensure that it is effective and safe, and that appropriate records are being kept.

As your pest management program may need to utilise a range of chemicals you must ensure that there is no risk of food contamination. You may consider using a registered pest management company to ensure only approved methods and chemicals are employed.  

Any pest deterrent you have in place must not pose a threat of contamination to your ingredients, work-in-progress and finished products or other materials such as packaging. You will need to carefully consider the placement of any insect or pest killing devices and treatments.

You are responsible for keeping the building surrounds well maintained so you do not provide a niche environment for pests. 

Your external rubbish bins should be lidded and be regularly emptied to avoid overflowing, so that pests do not consider this a suitable food source. You should remove old equipment and materials (e.g. damaged pallets) from the site surrounds as these provide safe harbourage areas for pests. Gardens and lawns need to be maintained to minimise overgrowth, especially around external bait stations. You may also want to consider controlling any large trees near your site with branches extending above the facility roof, as these provide pests with the means of accessing your roof space.

Your program will need to outline what control methods will be used and where pest control traps or devices should be located to be most effective.

There is an expectation that:

  • Pest control reports are available and complete.
  • Recommendations from the reports are being acted upon in a timely manner.
  • The chemicals and baits being used are as per the documented program and batch details are recorded in case of product recall.
  • Bait stations are secured, accessible and in accordance with location map.
  • A pest sighting register or similar record is in place and is being used by staff and pest controller.

When developing your pest management program you should consider the following:

  • Is there a documented system including records to show that pest control procedures have been followed?
  • Are corrective actions taken and recorded for all pest control issues? Does the record include the date of the pest activity? Is there a description of the location of the pest activity? Is the date of treatment and when issue was rectified recorded?
  • Are all personnel aware that they must advise of any pest sightings around the site?  Do they know where the pest sighting register is kept? Do they record pest activity? This may include pest sightings or pest droppings.
  • Are your pest contractors qualified to perform all desired treatments as per the local requirements and the Food Standards Code? Do they visit your establishment regularly? Are bait stations replenished regularly?
  • What pests are to be targeted?
  • What areas are to be inspected and treated? Do you have a checklist which covers the areas you need to inspect?
  • What chemicals are the pests to be treated with? Are the chemicals stored on site?  Are they in a secure area away from food production? 
  • How do you ensure that chemicals in use are suitable and approved for use in food premises? Are chemicals/treatments checked to ensure they are still within their use by date before they are used? 
  • Have you considered the location of your pest control devices?  For example, electric insect killing (EIK) devices should not be placed above food preparation or packing areas.
  • Is there safety information and shelf-life information available for all chemicals used? (e.g.  Material Safety Data Sheets available and current)?
  • Do you have a site map with the location for all bait stations and devices used at your site? Bait stations should be easy to access.  Your map should include all production, external and storage areas.
  • How do you identify toxic bait stations from non-toxic bait stations? Toxic bait is not to be used in storage and manufacturing areas
  • Do you review the frequency of inspections and increase them as needed during certain seasons or during plague times?
  • Are vehicles you use to transport ingredients or goods reviewed for pest activity?  Is this recorded?
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Self Assessment

How much do you know about Pest control?

Take this short assessment to find out.

Question 1

Zita is a quality coordinator at a dairy processing facility located in a small country town. She has been asked by her manager to be responsible for the site’s pest control program. Zita has made a list of all the pests she believes could pose a hazard to the plant. Her manager has reviewed the list and noticed she has not included birds, which have recently been sighted in large numbers around the entrance of the plant near the dispatch roller doors. Zita does not believe she needs to include the birds as they have never been sighted inside the plant.

Is Zita correct in her assumption that birds should not be included on the list?

Question 2

Rod is the storeman at a dairy facility and has noticed increased ant activity in the area where the dry ingredients are stored.  

What should Rod do to protect the products from the noted pests?

Select all correct measures.