Preventing Rodent Migrations in Food Facilities

McCloud Services Provides Preventative Steps Food Facilities Should Take This Winter to Prevent Rodents from Impacting Food Safety

by: Patricia Hottel, Technical Director, McCloud Services

McCloud Services is educating food plant managers about the threat of rodents to food safety and providing steps to take to exclude rodents this fall and winter.

Rodents carry diseases such as Salmonella, murine typhus, infectious jaundice, rat-bite fever and the potentially fatal Hantavirus. They are also able to chew through drywall, insulation, wood and electrical wiring, increasing the potential risk for fires.

“In food facilities, higher rodent activity can occur during the fall and winter months, especially when a facility is located in an agricultural area. Minimizing the availability of food, water and shelter should be made on the exterior and interior of the facility. Whether a facility has a year round pressure or seasonal pressure, there are preventative steps that can be taken to prevent rodents from impacting food safety,” said Patricia Hottel, technical director of McCloud Services.

Exterior Prevention Methods Include:

  • Keeping dumpster areas and dumpster pads clean of food wastes which can support rodents.
  • Selecting plants which are less attractive to rodents.
  • Avoiding ground covers and low growing plants which can conceal rodents and rodent burrows.
  • Maintaining a vegetation free barrier close to the building and making sure trees and shrubs are trimmed back and do not touch the structure.
  • Bulk unloading areas can be prone to food spillage. Keeping these areas as clean as possible to eliminate food for survival.
  • Keeping doors closed when not in use and maintaining seals to exclude pests when doors are closed. A mouse can enter a crack as small as ¼” and a rat ½”. Exterior sealing efforts should be made to prevent entry to these levels of exclusion.
  • Making sure openings around pipe/wall junctures and other utility lines are sealed.
  • Fixing leaks and drainage issues to keep water sources to a minimum.
  • Installing rodent equipment on the exterior for monitoring and control. Traps or baits can be used depending on species and sensitivity of the area.

Interior exclusion methods should also be taken such as following proper sanitation methods, reducing access to harborage and minimizing water sources. Rodent monitoring devices can also be used to check the effectiveness of exterior defenses and alert the pest management professional of additional steps and changes to make as part of the program.

Food facility staff need to regularly inspect shipments to make sure that mice or rats are not hiding or nesting in pallet loads, and regular inspections should be conducted to look for rodents and their signs.

Potential signs of rodents can include droppings, gnawing, noises, burrows and damaged food packaging.

McCloud Services’ article “Preventing Rodent Migrations” discusses the first and second line of defense food facilities should take.

To learn more information about Rodent Prevention in Food Facilities this winter, please download McCloud Services’ article here: “Preventing Rodent Migrations Article” 

Contact McCloud Services to learn more about their food safety pest management programs at 800-332-7805 or at

About McCloud Services
McCloud Services, based in South Elgin, Ill., is the leader in food protection services throughout the chain of custody – from grain elevator to grocery store. McCloud Services is known for its integrated approach to pest management, specifically designed for the food supply chain of custody. Serving the largest food-related brands in the U.S., the company has earned a reputation as the “food protection experts.” McCloud Services is a regional service provider with locations in 11 states.