The impact of pests on food safety is a major concern on a global scale. Pests, such as rodents, cockroaches, flies and pigeons are some of the main threats to food safety as they each carry a variety of pathogens, bacteria and viruses that can be passed on to humans through the food that they contaminate. It has been estimated that between one quarter and one third of the world grain crop is lost each year during storage due to pest contamination.
Rajitha Cooke, Director of Suren Cooke Agencies, works closely with some of the largest food safety facilities and has provided his insights on the main risks posed by pests to food safety.
“When carrying out pest control programmes for food safety facilities the four main risks that need to be eliminated are microbial contamination risk, chemical contamination risk, physical risk and allergen risk. Once a pest comes into contact with food it is deemed not suitable for consumption due to microbial contamination which could lead to serious outbreaks of food poisoning due to disease-causing germs such as Salmonella, Listeria and E. Coli. This can adversely affect the reputation and future commercial prospects for food manufacturing, food processing plants and food establishments. Chemical contamination risks need be eliminated when applying pest control solutions to mitigate the risks of pest infestations in food safety plants. If pesticides are applied incorrectly or the wrong pesticide is used there is a risk of contaminating food products which would then be deemed as not fit for consumption.”
He further states that there are other unforeseen risks that Suren Cooke Agencies takes into consideration. This attention to detail is what has set them apart as the leader in the pest control industry.
“The physical risk of equipment parts falling into food products needs to be taken into consideration as well as the risk of allergens due to the use of certain pesticides that can cause severe allergic reactions in humans when used in close proximity to food products. This includes certain types of metals in the equipment being used which can contaminate food products.”
To mitigate the above-mentioned risks Suren Cooke Agencies has taken numerous steps to ensure that the services they render to food safety facilities are up to the highest global standards. Suren Cooke Agencies is an ISO 22000 accredited pest management company which means that their pest management programme for food safety facilities covers and eliminates all risks related to food safety. The chemicals and equipment they use, specifically Pesguard Alpha 5FL, Sumithrin 10 SEC and Insect Light Traps with Shatter Proof Bulbs, are HACCP Certified and approved to be used in sensitive areas. They also ensure that the rodenticides (rat poison) and mechanical traps they use to eliminate the presence of rodents are placed in lockable, tamper-resistant bait stations to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. They also provide meticulous documentation, reports and checklists which have been derived specifically for food safety companies to reduce or eliminate any risks due to pest breeding and to prevent any secondary contamination, thereby ensuring the food products are safe in order for their customers to pass audits successfully
Suren Cooke Agencies has been synonymous with “service excellence” since their inception in 1985. They have amassed numerous accreditations from some of the world's leading governing bodies on quality control and health and safety which include ISO 9001 Quality System Certification and SGS system certifications for OHSAS 18001 and ISO 14001. They have also expanded their global reach by receiving membership to the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), Singapore Pest Management Association (SPMA) and the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). Over the last 35 years they have established themselves as pioneers and market leaders in the pest control industry and their growth is credited to a manifestation of their commitment to best-practices, eco-friendly solutions, and the dedication and courage of their highly skilled team.