Pest Control with John Simmons of Acheta

We have a guest blog from John Simmons from Acheta in this issue.  John has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to pest control, he’s seen as an authority in his field – even writing for help guides for the BRC.  Acheta provide training, consultancy, inspection, audit services which include analysing and interpreting pest control data – to ensure you get the most out of your pest control contractor.  To find out more about John and Acheta, click here. Also included is a short update on the changes to the use of toxic baits outside.


Pest control

 The Changes to Pest Control 4.14.9 by John Simmons

4.14.9 An in-depth, documented pest control survey shall be undertaken at a frequency based on risk, but as a minimum annually, by a pest control expert to review the pest control measures in place.
The survey shall:
• Provide an in-depth inspection of the facility for pest activity
• Review the existing pest control measures in place and make any recommendations for change
The timing of the survey shall be such as to allow access to equipment for inspection where a risk of stored product infestation exists.
(Changes to V7 shown in red)

The recommendation for in-depth inspections (usually known as field biologist or technical inspections in the UK) has been reduced from four (quarterly) to a minimum of one. According to BRC, the reasoning behind this is that some sites simply don’t require four such inspections; for example fresh-produce pack-houses, which may operate for only a few months a year.

The ‘downgrade’ is still surprising though, given that four such inspections are pretty much a standard requirement of all the major UK multiple retailers. It should be noted that risk assessment is necessary in order to determine the number of inspections required, and I anticipate that four will still be the preferred number in most cases. What is interesting though is that our experience has been that, outside of the UK, field biologist inspections are not a standard feature of most pest control contracts, so compliance with the required four is frequently lacking.

Even when they take place, are the inspections or reports suitably detailed? I have authored a freely available guide on behalf of BRC, which may be downloaded on this link.

Briefly though, the in-depth, or field biologist inspections, should include:

  • A review of the adequacy of the current pest control system.
  • Recommendations concerning alternative proactive pest management practices.
  • Recommendations concerning improvements in site standards.
  • A summary of pest evidence seen; this should include reference to areas inspected, even where no problems have been found.
  • A review of the currency of all pest control related documentation.

There is nothing here that should be difficult for any pest control company to comply with. However, particular attention is drawn to the fourth bullet point, which very few field biologist reports currently include, most being just a list of issues requiring attention by site personnel. It is vitally important to both parties that areas inspected and where there are no problems found, are reported as such. It is the contractor’s evidence that they have inspected the area, and the client’s evidence that the area was inspected, with no problems found.

John Simmons

Toxic Baits used outside…
You may have heard from your pest controller that there are some changes being phased in, with regard to the use of toxic baits outside.  This has been driven by Europe due to the secondary poisoning of wildlife (for example when wildlife such as birds of prey eats a mouse which has been poisoned and this then kills the bird). This means that they are changing the labels on the toxic baits, so that they no longer say for use ‘outdoors’.  Instead they will say ‘in or around buildings’ or ‘open areas’.

This means for many of our food production sites, that toxic baits will still be allowed to be used, but they will only be allowed around the outside of the building and if the site has current rodent activity.  Plus, your pest control contractor will need to document a risk assessment to justify why toxic bait continues to be used.  It is thought that this risk assessment will also need to be reviewed and updated about every 6 weeks.  Given that creating and updating a risk assessment in this way is a lot of work, it is thought that pest controllers may opt for the removal of the toxic baits.

The CRRU (Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use) have published a best practise guidance document, which provides details of how external rodents can be managed without the use of toxic baits.  They call this the ‘Risk Hierarchy’ and includes things like making sure that there is no food or water source for rodents, that the building is adequately proofed and also that there is no source of harbourage (vegetation or old equipment for example). If you would like to read more about how to manage rodents outside, you can read the CRRU UK Code of Best Practise or John Simmons has also written a really useful article which you can read here.

In issue 11 you can find the remaining clauses of 4.14 Pest Control section.  If you have any specific questions about pest control or anything else, please get in touch using the comments section below.

I’d also be really interested to hear from any sites who have had their BRC V7 audit – what was it like?  Was there anything that surprised you or have you any learnings that you would be willing to share?  We’d love to hear your comments.

Thanks, Kassy

Have your say…

2 thoughts on “Pest Control with John Simmons

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