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Pest control


Pests such as insects, rodents and birds can contaminate food. Their presence in and around food establishments is unsanitary.

There are several risks associated with pests in food establishments. They can

It is important to control the risks associated with pests by preventing pest from entering buildings, detecting and eliminating pests, and preventing the contamination of food.


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) created this document as guidance to help food businesses comply with the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations.

It's your choice!

You may use other guidance developed by provincial governments, industry associations, international partners or academic bodies as long as they can achieve the outcomes identified in the regulations. Always ensure that the guidance you choose is relevant for your particular business, product or products, and market requirements.

What is included

The document outlines:

Refer to the Tell me more! section for additional sources of information that may help you develop pest controls.

What is not included

While the document provides examples of pest control activities, it is not exhaustive ­ the pest control measures will depend on the size and complexity of the food business and be unique for each business.

Roles and responsibilities

Food businesses are responsible for complying with the law. They demonstrate compliance by ensuring that the commodities and processes for which they are responsible meet regulatory requirements. If a written preventive control plan (PCP) is required, the food business develops a PCP with supporting documents, monitors and maintains evidence of its implementation, and verifies that all control measures are effective.

The CFIA verifies the compliance of a food business by conducting activities that include inspection, and surveillance. When non-compliance is identified, the CFIA takes appropriate compliance and enforcement actions.

Pest control

Pest prevention

Pest control starts with the condition of the establishment and its maintenance and operation, inside and out. The following are preventive measures that you can take to reduce the risk of pests entering and infesting the establishment:


Fence lines

Perimeter of buildings

Unpaved areas

Loading / receiving docks

Interior docks

Outside waste area

Roof areas

Exterior storage

Doors and windows

Other entrances

Warehouse / storage areas

Processing areas

Coolers / freezers

Interior waste areas

Maintenance areas

Lunchroom, locker rooms and washrooms



You monitor all areas of the establishment for the presence of:

Trapping, reducing or eradicating pests

It is important to have measures in place to control and remove pests that manage to enter the establishment. There are a number of control measures that you can apply:

1. Physical

Physical control measures include things such as traps and electrocutors; they are intended to reduce rodent and insect problems. The need to use these types of control measures will vary depending on the type of establishment.

Insect electrocutors

This equipment may be used to control flying insects, such as fruit flies, houseflies and moths inside a food establishment.


Rodent traps may be placed around the outside and inside perimeter of the establishment to monitor infestations and to provide control.

2. Chemical

Many pesticides are registered by Health Canada for use in a food establishment to help reduce or eradicate pests.

Rodent control

Only traps should be used inside an establishment, especially in processing areas.

If bait is required in processing or storage areas, it should be placed inside a bait station and used when no operation is taking place or storage areas are empty.

Using bait in block form, as opposed to pellets, granules and powders, prevents the pests from transporting the bait and contaminating food.

Rodent bait stations may be used in non-food areas of the establishment such as the boiler room, offices, maintenance areas, locker rooms, waste areas, and outside of the establishment.

Insect control

Insecticide applications within food processing establishments normally include three general types:

3. Other eradication measures

Other eradication measures may be used to control insects such as:

Animals, such as cats and dogs, cannot be used to control pests in food facilities as they also present a risk of contamination in the food establishment.

Development of a pest control program

Your pest control program should describe the following:


All persons or positions responsible for pest control activities. This could be a pest control company or internal personnel.


Each room or area included in pest control activities. This includes both inside and outside of the facility. All pest control devices are numbered and their location mapped on a floor plan or outside building schematic.


The rooms or areas subject to pest control, the methods, products and equipment to be used.


The frequency at which pest activity is monitored and pest control products and equipment are replaced. For instance, will it be daily, weekly, monthly or other?


Step-by-step details on how the pest control activities are to be performed so as to ensure that they are conducted in a manner that does not present a risk of contamination of food, equipment or facilities.
Note: Proper steps must also be taken to prevent injury to employees.


The documents to be completed:

The records should indicate:

Third party Pest Control Company

Many food operators hire a professional pest control company to conduct pest control activities in their establishments. If you contract a third party pest control company, the contract should describe the information discussed in the previous section so that you can verify that these activities are completed by the company as written.

Note: You remain responsible for keeping records of the pest control activities completed by the pest control company.

Tell me more! Further reading

The following references contain information that helps explain food safety controls, demonstrates how to develop them, and provides examples. The CFIA is not responsible for the content of documents that are created by other government agencies or international sources.

CFIA references

Other references

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