Effective pest management is undeniably an important element and often the most challenging areas in manufacturing sectors, especially in the food processing industries. According to a study conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), in Asia alone, pest caused an estimated loss of US$57.6 billion annually in food production. Besides financial losses, pest infestations may also lead to food recalls, which will consequently tarnish a company’s reputation. That is why, businesses are striving to minimise pest infestations in their production plant yearly.
Traditionally, pest control programmes rely on monitoring and applications of insecticides, rodenticides and the use of traps and baiting systems. These methods may not be effective without a fundamental knowledge of the biological and behavioural studies of pests and their vulnerabilities. Hence, in today’s efforts to sustain a greener environment, most businesses have chosen to employ Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme which is a more holistic and eco-friendly form of commercial pest control.
One of the main approaches in IPM is pest exclusion, which is a proactive strategy that involves sealing up potential pest entry points to ultimately prohibit pest from entering the premises. There are many ways for pests to penetrate into the food processing facilities; some through small gaps and cracks on walls that are not noticeable to human eyes, therefore eliminating pest entrances is a highly effective way of keeping pests out of the premises.
The implementation of pest exclusion plan can be a huge effort, especially for a large production facility, but it is achievable with the support of a professional pest controller that has extensive pest knowledge. They will have the understanding of pest behaviours to help in identifying the correct methods to control them. It is also equally important to work with experts that understand the phases of supply chain management as this will enable them to provide effective recommendation to execute proficient integrated pest management strategies.
“Pests such as rats and cockroaches can senselessly transmit harmful pathogens and compromise the food production line. The presence of innocuous pests can also contribute to a perception of unsanitary environment which will ultimately lead to audit failures and business losses. Which is why, pest exclusion is an important aspect in protecting the business and reputation of a food production facility.” said Carol Lam, the Managing Director of Rentokil Initial Malaysia.