There is a trend occurring in the United States, and it has many faces. It may look like the organic section at the local supermarket, or it may look like a natural food store. It could even be a new product, such as a new candy bar made from crickets or milk-less cheese products.

Everywhere you look, specialty foods are popping up. It’s no wonder, with food-related ailments on the rise, people are cutting out everything: gluten, processed foods, dairy, nuts, and the list goes on and on. Back in the day, we didn’t have terms like “trans fats” and “carbing out.” As diets change and information becomes available, more Americans than ever before are getting educated about the foods they eat. As a result, there’s more pressure on the food industry to take greater measures to protect against foodborne illnesses, including those that stem from pests.

Tracking Foodborne Illnesses

It’s not directly known how many cases of illness in the United States can be linked back to foodborne pathogens, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates nearly 50 million Americans get sick or have “food poisoning” each year, over 128,000 people are hospitalized and 3,000 die each year from food-borne diseases.

These numbers only represent 1% of the U.S. population; however, in a country so focused on food and education, this 1%, impassioned by their love for a sick loved one, are speaking out through social media. Others are forming groups to raise awareness, such as Stop Foodborne Illness.

Close-up of a red flour beetle.

Pest Problems and Foodborne Illness

One major cause of foodborne illness? Bacteria or other harmful substances introduced due to pests. There are many creatures that invade food stores: mice, rats, birds, cockroaches, flies, ants, beetles and more. This can pose quite a problem. When bugs and wildlife get in, they don’t bother to wipe their feet first. They also don’t care where they take care of their bathroom needs. For these two reasons, many pests are a dangerous spreader of food-borne pathogens.

Additionally, warm summer weather leads to an increase in pest activities like eating, defecating, reproducing, dispersing, infesting, damaging and contaminating. As pest populations increase, so do the pest pressures on food facilities. At all steps of the process, from production and packaging to distribution, sales, and dining, foodborne illnesses can be introduced to food products by all manner of pests. That’s why pest management must be an integral focus for any company involved with food.

How Pest Management Protects Against Foodborne Illness

Fighting pests and foodborne illnesses must be a part of every business plan. It’s not only the right thing to do for your customers’ health. It is a good business decision. Copesan works with businesses nationwide to put in place pest management programs that protect the public health and guard businesses from the backlash pests can create. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) helps keep your facilities, employees, and customers safe from pest pathogens in food with minimal chemicals. However your business interacts with food, it can’t afford to neglect taking steps to eliminate foodborne illness stemming from pest infestations.

For the most complete and competent commercial pest solutions, contact the professionals here at Copesan today!