Industry Spotlight: Pest Management in Retail Food Stores

Retail food stores encompass an ever expanding variety of settings and have morphed into “lifestyle” stores that include not only packaged goods, butcher, seafood and produce departments, deli and prepared foods counters, and in-store bakeries but also in-store cafes, wine bars, coffee shops, banks, dry cleaners and other retail/office space all under one roof

As a result the threat of pests gaining access to one or more these areas is greater and make the challenge of preventing and eliminating those threats all that more important.

There are a wide variety of pest pressures in retail food facilities including stored product pests, rodents, flies, cockroaches, and the occasional bird or squirrel invading the facility because of the controlled climate and food attraction.

Top Retail Food Store Pests

  • Rodents
  • Stored Product Pests
  • Flies  
  • Cockroaches
  • Birds

When plotting out a treatment strategy with your pest management partner, routine service and the frequency of service are factors that must be taken into account. There are also geographic pressures and climates that are highly conducive to occasional invaders and pests seeking food and shelter.

For example, grocery stores in rural settings near farm or pasture land can be more susceptible to rodents or flies since those adjacent areas may be home to an infestation whose members will seek food, water and shelter inside the store.

The same holds true for retail food outlets in densely populated metropolitan areas where pest pressures from adjacent businesses, alleys and sewers can deliver pests, particularly rodents, to the head of the checkout line.

Pest Impact In Retail Food Stores

  • Damage to brand reputation
  • Lost revenue
  • Unbudgeted expenses to correct problems and replenish lost inventory
  • Fines and regulatory action from local health departments
  • Possible legal action and claims from customers
  • Loss of confidence from employees and vendors

The key to effective pest management in retail food stores is found in an integrated pest management (IPM) approach – one Sprague Pest Solutions advocates – emphasizing exclusion, monitoring, good sanitation protocols and precise, targeted control measures.

Monitoring pest activity and using the data it yields is the key to developing and executing an effective pest management program. And when you consider the average 60,000 sq. ft. food retail store will have 35 or more rodent monitoring devices placed on the interior and six to 10 on the exterior, plus nearly 75 insect monitors to cover the store sufficiently that is a lot of data.

Tracking, documenting and interpreting data is an essential part of Sprague’s service. Our my. program management tool assists food industry clients in organizing their program across multiple locations and passing critical third-party audits and inspections.

Sprague’s client website is the total package for program management and reduces a facility’s risk by eliminating redundant data, ensuring there are no missing SDS, labels, licenses and certificates of insurance.

Sprague has the experience and proven prevention and control methods to design a customized solution to discretely keep pests out of retail food facilities of any size using the latest technology.

Editor’s Note: Portions of this article were adapted from Pest Control Technology’s Guide to Commercial Pest Management.

Food Retail & Grocery