Pest control

Pests that are harmful to food or hygiene include for example beetles, flying insects, larvae, ants, spiders, rodents, and birds. All pests are harmful because they spread disease and contaminate and spoil food or its packaging. Birds such as pigeons, seagulls and sparrows can cause problems in unloading, loading and disposal areas in addition to animal sheds and feed rooms if they have food, resting or nesting sites. Certain pests such as silverfishes, fur beetles and cockroaches do not usually live in food, but they can indirectly contaminate food. They must be controlled throughout the property.

In pest control, it is essential to prevent the occurrence of pests and to tackle the problem as soon as it is detected. Waste should be disposed as soon as possible. In outdoor sales, the products are protected, for example, by an awning. The doors of the handling and storage sites of food are tight, and they are kept closed while the windows and air vents are covered with nets.

Food pests

Food pests include beetles and flying insects that live in food at some stage in their lives. Pests are a particular problem for dry products such as cereals, cereal products, dried fruits, nuts, and spices. Different foods have their own typical pests. Pests thrive and multiply at room temperature. They are not toxic or spread infectious diseases, with the exception of German cockroaches, which can spread salmonella. However, food pests eat food and spoil it with their faeces.

Pest prevention

Pests can be prevented by ensuring that:

  • warehouses containing dry goods are well ventilated
  • doors and windows are closed
  • food premises are well organized and clean
  • food residues and splashes are cleaned of premises, equipment, transport vehicles and packaging
  • packages are kept on shelves
  • the products are closed and protected, for example with lids
  • the storage temperature is below + 18 ° C
  • products are not stored outdoors
  • in stock, the goods circulate on a “first in - first out” (FIFO) basis, i.e. the oldest is taken into use first
  • containers are cleaned regularly
  • waste is disposed as soon as possible
  • incoming goods are checked.

Signs of pests

It is possible that rodents have visited if gnawed packages and faeces are visible. Holes, larvae, cocoons, webs and dead insects in products, packaging, walls, or machinery are signs of pests and at that moment the adequacy of control measures should be checked at the latest.


If pests are detected, the aim is to find out the type and extent of the problem, i.e. what the pests are, how they have entered the food apartment and how widespread they are.

Flying insects can be controlled with electric traps. Mice are controlled with traps and bait boxes and rats with bait boxes. In the control of rodents, birds, fur beetles and cockroaches, it is good to ask for professional help. Rodenticides for the eradication of rats are only permitted to be used by professionals. Contaminated goods must be disposed and products that appear clean can be frozen to ensure food pests cannot reproduce there. Dry food, also unopened packaging, should be inspected for pests. For example, cupboards where pests have been found should be emptied and the apartment should be cleaned thoroughly.

The operator is responsible for the pest control, but municipal health authorities and environmental health care can help to identify pests and private sector professionals can help to control them.

Page last updated 8/11/2021