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Pest Control Laws For Restaurants

A discussion of pest control legislation covering the set up of a premises along with pest removal; the advantages of using an experienced pest control company.

Understanding the obligations for maintaining high standards of food safety

The catering and hospitality industry is highly regulated in terms of health and safety, and naturally the storing and serving of food falls within this remit with several factors determining food safety such as how and where it’s stored, and effective pest control measures. Various creatures from small insects to larger rodents such as rats can pose a serious threat so sound pest control and prevention is key.

The chief legislation covering food businesses in the EU is Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on the Hygiene of Foodstuffs, and the catering and hospitality industry is regulated by the (FSA) Food Standards Agency and Environmental Health Office (EHO). The FSA has a useful online guide.

Pest problems

If pests gain access to the premises, then obviously they spell danger but in more than one way:

Food contamination – diseases carried by pests can contaminate the food and other areas of the establishment such as food preparation areas.

Physical damage – pests can cause damage not only to stored food products and its packaging but also to other fixtures and fittings of the premises; for example, rats gnawing through cabling and mice making holes in woodwork.

Danger from chemicals – powerful cleaning materials can cause danger by being upended or broken into by pests and causing spillages. Also, the very materials stored to combat pests such as rat poisons pose a danger if improperly stored and used.

Pest control is a part of the legislation covering restaurants and you can ‘do it yourself’ if you wish. It’s not mandatory to use the services of a pest control professional but there are many advantages in doing so:

Not just pest removal – a pest control company can help advise on how to prevent pest problems or a recurrence if you already have them

Access to materials – some powerful pesticides aren’t available to all, and many that require careful handling by experienced people

Good defence – if you were to unfortunately face possible action due to an incident caused through pest infestation, the fact you used professional pest controllers to combat it would count in your favour

Peace of mind –  using a professional accredited contractor certified by one or more professional bodies such as BPCA (British Pest Control Association) or CEPA (Certified Professional Pest Management) shows you’re being helped by an experienced professional

A reliable, certified local company is ideal to talk to and such as this company offering Chelmsford pest control services for restaurant businesses in this area.

Good practice

Pest control legal requirements start with the layout, design and maintenance of the premises in question so cover prevention of pest infestation. A pest control checklist is advocated in order that areas aren’t missed from inspection, and records are kept as to what infestations have been found and what has been done about them.

Legal requirements for the layout, construction and siting of food premises to facilitate good hygiene practices including warding off contamination and controlling pests properly. This would cover entry points such as doors, windows, chutes, drain traps and fly screens.

Windows and other openings to the outside environment should be fitted with insect proof screens that are cleaned frequently.

Food storage and waste

Food waste is covered including procedures to follow in ensuring its proper storage and disposal, and the areas it’s stored prior to removal are kept clean and pest free.

Storing food – incoming food stocks should be checked for outside contamination and pest interference before being stored carefully such as in rodent-proof containers and away from potential pest hiding places. Stock should be rotated regularly.

Cleaning – areas should be kept clean and clear at all costs to avoid build ups of waste food, especially outside where pests such as rodents are attracted to food sources.

Domestic animals – should be kept away from areas where food is prepared, handled or stored so the pet dog in a family run restaurant also containing living quarters should be kept away from the ‘commercial’ area.

Training and best practice – all staff should be instructed in food safety best practices and shown how to spot signs of pest presence and infestation.

Pest control – it can be done in house through a designated staff member or through an outside contractor, but adequate procedures must be put in place. Only pest control substances specifically approved for the intended use are allowed.

Don’t use ‘professional use’ pesticides – these should only be used by pest control experts.


While it can unfortunately be possible to have a pest infestation even when care has been taken, proper prevention and the help of a trusted pest removal firm will help your restaurant keep the right side of the pest regulations.

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