Keep Your Facility Free of Rodents this Fall to Prevent Critical Food Safety Hazards

As summer comes to an end and cooler days and nights become more familiar, food processing facilities should take the proper precautions now to avoid rodents from entering buildings this fall. 

Several species of rodents may be found in and around structures this time of year.  Three main species which can cause concern for food processing facilities are:

  • Roof Rat
  • Norway Rat
  • House Mouse


Rodents can be a major food safety concern for food facilities because:

  • Mice and rats can contaminate food with their droppings, urine, hairs, nesting materials and feeding.
  • The house mouse can produce an average of 50 or more fecal pellets per day.  These droppings may contaminate food.  Diseases such as the food borne illnesses can be transmitted through fecal material contamination.

For these very critical food safety hazards, managers need to take the proper precautions to minimize rodent-related issues in food plants.


There are multiple lines of defense for preventing rodent infestations.  These include:

  • Traps and Baits.  Exterior rodent monitoring stations should be placed at the building foundation perimeter and in some cases, at the property perimeter.  These devices can help monitor activity and play a direct role in control through the use of traps and baits.
  • Visual Inspection. A visual inspection of the exterior is needed to help check for rodent signs like burrows and conditions conducive to rodents like food spillage.  Depending on location and history, the exterior inspection many include an inspection of the building’s roof.
  • Inspection of Incoming Goods.  It is important that rodents are not brought into the facility on incoming products.  This requires proper training of facility staff and established inspection procedures and documentation.
  • Rodent Proofing the Exterior.  To prevent interior entry, keep doors closed when not in use and utilize screens and sealing materials to prevent building access.
  • Implementing a Strong Interior Inspection Program.  Using interior pest management devices for monitoring and control, along with implementing a strong facility inspection program are the last lines of defense.  Interior inspection beyond the mentioned devices is needed to help check for rodent activity and conditions conducive to rodent survival on an ongoing basis.

Labeling and Repellents

Several new rodent repellents have been introduced into the professional pest management market in recent years.  These repellents may be used to direct rodents towards control devices.

A second technique is to use the repellents to help exclude rodents from entering structures through dock plates or other openings.  New metal meshes are also available in a wide variety of forms for use in rodent exclusion programs.

There have been changes in rodenticide labeling which may restrict the use of rodenticide products at the property perimeter.  Food processors should be aware of the label requirements and switch to traps as needed.

Report any rodent issues or findings immediately to your McCloud service specialist for proper treatment.