“I had just left home for a week. I come back to see my kitchen infested with tiny cockroaches, and I don’t even know how to name them right. The cockroaches were breeding from a carton box full of oil.” Sounds familiar right? The similar situation with other pests must have happened at your place. But, have you wondered how pests could infest your kitchen?
There are a certain number of pests and insects that thrive and infest only on specific food under specific conditions.
The mere presence of pests can carry a wide range of diseases causing organisms, including bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and helminths that can cause harm to consumers and staff of businesses in processing and handling food. They also cause physical contamination of ingredients and processed products from their droppings, shed fur and feathers, body parts, nesting material, and damaged packaging.
Not taking necessary and adequate care can lead to a financial threat. Especially in a manufacturing or catering unit, it can harm the whole supply chain process, and hence the end product becomes unacceptable. Due to which there is a loss of reputation and quality of the product.
The leading cause and occurrence of pests can be according to the change in climate, type of the food ingredient, cleanliness of the premise and the storage area; moisture content, rotten product, and already present droppings.
According to the leading Pest control agency in India Rentokil, Stored product insects (SPIs) is a generic term that covers beetles, weevils, moths, and mites (which are arachnids) infesting food in storage anywhere in the food chain from the farm to the kitchen.
Image Courtesy Rentokil
As already discussed in detail in my previous posts ( https://medium.com/@pavithrakrishnaprasad/infestation-of-weevils-into-your-cereals-and-how-a11648f028b4), dry foods when susceptible to more moisture can be easily infested by insects like moths, weevils, eggs, larvae, etc.
Image courtesy Department of Health
As rightly said by Rentokil, the pest activity in raw product ingredients can also change their physical and chemical properties, causing them to cake during processing which can halt production lines and damage machinery.
Possible pest, rodent and insect infestation include:
1. Damage to the product stored- holes, tampered, broken.
2. Presence of weevils in the storage bins and not cleaned properly
3. Infestation on the exterior area
4. Larvae, pupae or silken webbing in food harbourage s in cracks and crevices around shelves or on machinery
5. Larvae, pupae or smooth webbing in food spillages
6. Larvae, pupae or soft webbing on beams and window sills;
7. Pests caught in insect traps. On the corners of the walls and ceilings- cobwebs and mould formation due to a wet layer.
8. Bird droppings due to exposure to the outside, which also means susceptible bird feathers.
9. Gaps found on the walls, floor, and ceiling
10. Hot processing area
11. When there is oil spillage and not cleaned thoroughly
12. Spoiled food not discarded on time
13. Cut open fruits or vegetables.
14. Free drainage and weak water flow system
15. Open toilet and cleanliness
My next article will deal with the types of pests, insects, and rodents that infest on your food. The same will be continued with the methods to prevent and reduce pests in your kitchen.