FDA-Learn about avian pests
Stay compliant with the FDA
Controlling pests in a food processing or storage facility is essential in order to minimize the transmission of food-borne illnesses caused by contamination.
Pests common to food establishments are divided into three categories.
- Category I pests are the most serious as they can potentially transmit diseases to food and cause allergic reactions.
- Pests in Category II do not directly carry disease but are general indicators of insanitary conditions at some point in the supply chain.
The food industry is concerned with filth from pests—including insects, rodents, birds, and bats—that may adulterate or contaminate human food.
These pests are considered significant in the food industry because:
- They may carry food-borne pathogens.
- Their presence may be an indicator of insanitation in the facility.
- They may adulterate food products with foreign substances such as insect eggs, larval skins, frass, rodent hairs, and waste that are at the very least aesthetically objectionable in food.
- They may cause millions of dollars worth of damage.
Filth is any contaminant that, because of its repulsiveness, would not normally be eaten. Filth may or may not be an actual health hazard; its mere presence in a product will render that product adulterated
Wow, really, birds?
Pigeons, sparrows, and starlings are responsible for the majority of bird problems at food establishments. Other problematic birds include swallows, crows, and seagulls.
Birds can pose a major threat in and around facilities where food is being prepared, processed, or stored because:
Birds are reported to harbor over 100 diseases, including histoplasmosis, encephalitis, salmonella, meningitis, toxoplasmosis, West Nile virus, and many others.
Bird droppings can harbor parasites and spread diseases. Accumulations of bird droppings produce flies, airborne contaminants, fungus spores, and odors. In addition, bird droppings at entrances of buildings are easily tracked indoors where they can become airborne or foot-borne contaminants.
Birds can gain access to food preparation and storage areas through doors, windows, and ventilators.
What is a pest?
Here are 5 attributes to describe pest.
- Synanthropy – Living around where people live.
- Endophily – Willingness to enter indoors, go inside.
- Exophily – Reluctance to enter buildings (if a pest is not willing to enter a factory, it will not carry germs into the factory).
- Attraction – Strongly attracted to sources of pathogens such as feces, sewage, or garbage, and also attracted to human food.
- Communicative behavior – Moves back and forth between a pathogen reservoir and human food.