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Pests need better management in food industry

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Pest control is of growing concern to the food industry in Australia - not due to the pest themselves but due to more stringent requirements.

"This country is following the world trend towards greater auditing when it comes to health and safety in food processing and manufacturing," says David Peterson, general manager of Rentokil Pest Control .

In recognition of this, Rentokil Pest Control will be present for the first time at Food-Pro in Sydney in July.

"The audit trail is critical, either imposed by state health authorities, a government agency like AQIS or by self-regulation. Rentokil Pest Control has taken it a step further by providing an audit of its own services up to four times a year, reported back autonomously to its national technical manager," Mr Peterson said.

Pest control in the food processing and manufacturing industries is also being fueled by environmental considerations where, in many situations, it is likely that chemicals will be a zero option - only organic treatments and better housekeeping will be allowed, which are higher cost options.

"We are already seeing this happening in Europe, so what this means is a changing relationship between us and the client," Mr Peterson said.

"We must work closer with clients to reduce access and breeding sites, and more closely monitor activity. Particularly in food businesses right along the supply chain, the requirements are getting tougher. The good news is that organic solutions are getting better to treat pest problems and other creative solutions are happening."

For example, Rentokil is about to launch Radar, a rodent trap which locks the mouse in a tunnel then using carbon dioxide it is put down, avoiding the need for baits or painful deaths in sticky traps, etc.

The internet is now playing its part and Rentokil Pest Control has just launched 'PestNet' - an internet based reporting system which allows the client complete access to details including reports, trends and recommendations and is also interactive.

"This is ideal for major companies with plants or facilities in several locations around the country as all pest control operations can be controlled from the one site - it really is the future of pest control," Mr Peterson said.

"PestNet will take the place in the marketplace of our basic product PestGuard which came out over 10 years ago. Developed by our parent company, PestNet has been such a huge investment that other companies in Australia cannot simply duplicate it."

Uniformity in reporting is also an attraction for companies throughout a supply chain.

Whether it is the packaging manufacturer, the food transport company, the processor, the exporter or the retailer, if all operate on similar reporting systems, the control process can be made much more accountable.

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