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Food Info - Operate

Pests and Animals


Pest management

The presence of vermin and insects in or near your premises is bad for business. Insects and vermin carry diseases. They can contaminate your food, make your customers sick, and will drive away customers.


What are the most common pests?

  • Cockroaches live and hide in sewers and drains. They like dark and moist areas – especially kitchens. Bacteria are carried on their legs, body and in their saliva. Bacteria are then transferred to equipment, utensils and eventually food, causing foodborne illness.
  • Flies lay their eggs in warm, moist places such as waste food and refuse. In summer temperatures the egg can develop into a maggot, and then an adult fly, in as little as ten days. A fly eats by regurgitating liquid from its stomach onto the food. The liquid dissolves the solid food and the fly then mops up the liquid with its mouth. This liquid contains bacteria, which are transferred onto food and equipment. The fly also carries bacteria on its feet, hair and faeces.
  • Rats and mice can cause destruction of food crops, buildings and electrical cables, in addition to transmitting diseases. Most of the damage they do is physical, such as gnawing. Food can become contaminated by their droppings, urine and hairs. They carry bacteria from soil, waste food and refuse, on their fur and feet, transferring them to uncovered food and surfaces.


How do I control pests?

Pests need the same things we do – shelter, warmth and food. Take away these things and they will soon find somewhere more favourable to live.

  • Make it hard for pests to enter your premises by maintaining your building and structures so that there is nowhere for them to hide. e.g. seal any holes in walls, and behind equipment.
  • Keep surfaces clean so there is nothing for them to eat.
  • Contact a licensed pest control operator to visit on a regular basis.


How do I prevent pests?

  • Contact a licensed pest control operator for an assessment of your premises. The operator will recommend a program suited to your needs for controlling pests and recommend a maintenance schedule. Ensure the operator provides you with documentation proving that a pest treatment has been done.
  • Check deliveries for pests and droppings, and if any food is found to be contaminated, refuse the delivery and contact the supplier. 
  • Regularly check the premises for pests by looking in cupboards where food is stored for signs such as droppings, packages with holes in the bottom, and cockroaches behind refrigerators and equipment.
  • Undertake a cleaning program.
  • Cover all food with secure lids.
  • Repair all holes in walls, floors and ceilings.
  • Place screens on doors and windows.
  • Remove waste regularly and store away from food operations.
  • Clean waste storage areas regularly and store away from food operations.


Animals and pets

Animals are generally not allowed in a food business, however, you can keep live seafood, fish and shellfish. Assistance dogs are allowed in customer eating and drinking areas. Find more about access rights for guide, hearing and assistance dogs

You can choose to allow dogs in your outdoor dining area. Find out more about dogs in outdoor dining areas and tips for maintaining food safety standards.

You can download and use posters in your food business to help inform your customers: