Pests need food. This is a pretty simple, undeniable fact. Another simple, undeniable fact is that restaurants contain a lot of food. Food that, if not stored safely and properly, can attract pest infestations at a terrible rate. No restaurant wants to deal with an infestation. They can lead to inspections and fines, freak out your customers and employees, and seriously undermine your restaurant’s reputation.
The #1 most important way to protect your restaurant from pests is to store your food properly. We’ve put together some of our best pest-proof food storage tips for restaurants below.
Store dry goods in airtight containers.
Stored product pests are arguably the single most disastrous pest infestation a restaurant could deal with. These pests, like Indian meal moths, earwigs, and merchant grain beetles, love stored dried goods.
If you use any quantity of pasta, flour, oatmeal, or grain, you’ll need to store it in airtight containers. These types of containers will be made from plastic and have resealable, locking lids. If pests can’t get to their preferred food source, they’ll leave to find it somewhere else.
Keep all food products off of the floor.
This is a fairly obvious suggestion, but sometimes storage space is limited. If your kitchen is clean, what’s the harm? Storing any type or quantity of food on the ground is a major health code violation. It also makes food products easier for potential pests to access. Never store food products on the floor, no matter what they are–and even if they’re in a sealed bag.
Refrigerate any perishable food within two hours.
This goes down to one hour if it gets above ninety degrees Farenheit in your kitchen. You don’t want food being left out in general. The longer something sits, the more likely it is to leave behind pest-drawing residue. This is especially true with perishables. They can quickly attract pests like flies if left out as little as just thirty minutes.
Practice FIFO with your food storage.
First In, First Out (FIFO) is an important food safety and storage guideline. FIFO dictates that the food you’ve been storing the longest (the “first in”) should be the next food you use (“first out”).
Applying FIFO helps food rotates out of your restaurant constantly, instead of piling up until it becomes infested. Using this methodology seriously helps keep pests from hiding and proliferating in your restaurant’s pantry.
Know what to do if you find any compromised food products.
If you find contaminated food in your restaurant, discard the food’s entire container in a sealed, outdoor trash bin. Do not attempt to save or salvage any of it. Once you’ve disposed of the food itself, remove everything else on the shelf where you stored the food.
Examine each product you stored on this shelf very thoroughly for signs of infestation. Throw out any infested material you find right away. If you find a lot of infested product, you should expand your search to the entire storage room. Thoroughly clean the shelf and the products before you put them back. Once you’ve cleaned and sanitized the area, call a pest control company.
Sometimes you take all the right steps to prevent pests and they still get in. If you suspect a pest problem in your restaurant, don’t hesitate; call Assured Environments right away. We’ll send one of our specially trained technicians to find and fix your problem fast.