7 Pests to Ban From Your Food Premises to Improve Food Safety

Preventing pests in food facilities is critical to ensuring the safety and quality of food products. Pests can easily contaminate food with bacteria and other pathogens, leading to foodborne illnesses and other health hazards.

In addition to posing a health risk, pests can also cause significant damage to food packaging, electrical wiring, and other materials in food facilities, leading to costly repairs and potential interruptions in operations.

Furthermore, pest infestations can also damage a food facility’s reputation and lead to loss of business. Customers expect food to be prepared and stored in a safe and sanitary environment, and the presence of pests can indicate otherwise.

Pest control in a food handling environment is not an option but a legal requirement.  The proper pest control measurements will reduce and even eliminate the risk of food contamination and damage caused by pests.

The 7 Most Common Pests You Can Find in Food Handling Environments

You might not find all of these pests in the same facility at the same time, but all food facilities do encounter them at some point.

1. Flies

Did you know flies are one of the most dangerous pests you can find in a food-handling environment?  The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that the common housefly can transmit at least 65 diseases.

Flies are stubborn pests that can undermine your business’s image.  They are active during the day, very persistent, easily visible and do not try to hide.  They are literally in your customer’s face.  It is also challenging to get rid of these annoying pests once they find a way to enter a building.

Pests - Flies

2. Rodents (Rats and Mice)

Second to flies, rodents also make the top of this list because they are among the most dangerous pests you can find in a food-handling environment.  Rodents transport food-borne pathogens through saliva, urine and droppings.  Rodents also carry parasites like fleas and ticks.

Rodents are nocturnal (more active at night), shy and likes to hide.  It is more difficult to spot them.

No Pests in the Workplace

3. Cockroaches

As with most pests, cockroaches also like the same food humans consume.  Paper materials, paste, glue, wallpaper and drapes are also part of their diet.  Cockroaches are tough little critters, and it is claimed they can withstand exposure to extreme radiation levels.

Cockroaches often transport microorganisms on their bodies, as well as viruses and pathogens, which can cause various health hazards.

As with rodents, cockroaches are also nocturnal and like to hide.  Spotting them is more complicated.

Pests - Cockroach

4. Other Crawling and Flying Insects

Be on the lookout for other flying and crawling insects.  The types of food you process and store and the location of the facility, play a role in what type of other insects you might encounter in the workplace.

For example, you might find fruit flies and gnats in a fruit processing and handling environment, but not so much in an abattoir.  Although some species of gnats are bloodsuckers.

Identify other insects you notice and add them to your Pest Control checklist.

Pests - Other Crawling and Flying Insects
Other Crawling & Flying Insects

5. Birds

Birds are not pests in the normal sense, but they become pests when they enter the food processing and handling area.  The most common birds you might find inside buildings, especially warehouses, are;

  • pigeons;
  • doves;
  • and sparrows.

In most cases, birds enter the facility by accident, but exposed beams near roofs are ideal for nesting.  Birds are larger than your regular pests and easily visible.  It is also much easier to control them.  They usually enter through open windows and doors.  Keeping these closed should solve the problem.

Birds like to do their business during flight and exposed food, food preparation surfaces and equipment could be in the way.  Birds carry parasites, and the droppings and feathers may contain harmful germs and parasites.

Pests - Birds

6. Bats

You would not usually find bats inside your processing area, but they are famous for living and breeding in roofs (between the roof and ceiling).  From time to time, one might lose its way and end up in your processing area.

Bats are not common pests, but they (including their droppings) do carry a variety of harmful germs and parasites.

Pests - Bats

7. Domestic Animals

Domestic animals are not pests until they enter the food processing area.  Chances are very slim you will find domestic animals roaming around your food processing area, but it does happen.

For example, stray dogs and cats are always on the hunt for food and water.  Given a chance, they will enter a food processing area.

Pests - Domestic Animals
Domestic Animals


In conclusion, maintaining a pest-free workplace is crucial for the health and safety of employees and customers alike.

By being vigilant and putting these seven pests on your watchlist, you can prevent infestations and ensure a clean and hygienic environment.

Regular inspections, proper waste management, and educating employees on pest prevention measures are key steps to keeping pests at bay.

Remember, early detection and swift action are essential to effectively managing pest problems in the workplace.

Please drop us a comment below.  We love to hear what our website visitors have to say!

4 thoughts on “7 Pests to Ban From Your Food Premises to Improve Food Safety”

  1. I never thought you would include dogs or other four-legged animals as pests in the food processing area but I agree with you.They could bring germs and bacteria on their feet and skin into the food processing area.

    Anyway, I like your services and the advice you give.I’ll bookmark your site when I need your help.

    • Hi Eli,
      Thanks for leaving a comment. You are more than welcome to contact us if you need any advice. You do not see cats and dogs that often in food processing areas, but it can happen.

      Have a great day!

  2. Rodents and cockroaches are at the top of my list. They breed like a photocopy machine. If you see one it is likely there are a lot more hiding somewhere. These pests can cause a lot of trouble and carry a lot of bacteria. Making your workplace a feeding and breeding ground. Waste management is important to keep these pests under control.

    • Hi Kit,
      Thanks for the comment. You are right, waste management is important to keep pests under control. It is important to have a proper waste disposal and management system in place. Pests are a no no in a food handling environment.

      Have a great day!


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