Keeping Rodents Out of Food Processing Plants

What do you think of when you hear the word pest? Some people may instantly think of their younger sibling, while others will start thinking about creepy crawly insects. Most people seem to overlook one of the most common pests that can be found throughout the United States. These pests have four legs, and they are covered in fur. We are not talking about cute little mice here. This pest is the rat, a constant problem in residential areas. The problem gets amplified and much worse when you look at businesses that process food.

Keeping Rats Out

Rats are obviously attracted to food, and food processing plants obviously go through a lot of food. Keeping the rats out of the plants is a constant job that uses statistics and trapping methods that date back well over 60 years. While somewhat effective, these trapping methods are due for a change.

The Old Method

The older and obviously outdated method of controlling rats outside of food processing plants consisted of nothing more than measurements and traps. For instance, a trap is supposed to be placed every 23 feet around the outside perimeter of a food processing plant. This was done regardless of the number of rats found in or around the plant. While this may seem like a logical practice, this method was costing some food processing plants as much as $10,000 per trapped rat. Is this the most cost-effective way to keep the rat population under control? No, it is not.

Using A Results-Oriented Approach

In 2013, The National Pest Management Assn. suggested the use of a different type of pest management plan that was based on results as opposed to the area. This newer approach to controlling the rat population has to do with the number of rats actually being trapped. If no rodents are being trapped, then there is obviously no need for traps.

The problem with this newer trapping method does nothing to control the number of rodents that could be living inside a food processing facility. Not all rodents walk into these facilities. Some of them get there secretly by stowing away in a pallet. Once inside, these rodents have free roam of the most precious portions of the food processing plants.

Plant Workers Hold the Key

The real problem can be solved by speaking directly to plant workers. These people see and hear everything that happens in the plant. They are the eyes and ears of the entire operation. The most effective way to control rodents inside food processing plants is proper staff training. Once workers know the proper way to spot potential problems, the rodent problem can be addressed appropriately.

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