Food companies encouraged to make the most of pest control services

The food industry is expected to benefit from a move to promote professional standards in pest control. 

This week, two companies that focus on pest control services became the first in the UK to be accredited against a benchmark of quality recognised across Europe.

Both companies are associated with the British Pest Control Association (BPCA). The trade body is now encouraging its 450-plus servicing members to follow suit.

“The European Standard for Pest Management Services, EN16636, was developed by the pest control industry to act as a demonstration of professional credentials,” said Simon Forrester, chief executive for BPCA.

“We know of many pest controllers who are untrained and do not stay up-to-date with the latest products, techniques and legislation – and that can create big problems.

“But this will demonstrate our members are on a level playing field with the best pest management companies in the world and will mean that, by employing members of the BPCA, food professionals can be totally confident of a professional service.”

West Yorkshire’s Premier Pest Control was named as the first company in the UK to be measured against the standard earlier this week, whilst Ecolab Pest Elimination was awarded with the first certificate.

The Confederation of European Pest Management Associations (CEPA) launched the initiative earlier this year. Its purpose is to identify the best practices and assures customers that BPCA’s member companies are fully qualified to deal with pesticide issues.

It aims to portray a positive image of the pest management industry regarding public health, food safety and environmental significance.

As of January, all member companies will be working towards the standard, with all expecting to pass the audit by the deadline of June 2017.

“It’s important to recognise that this is not just a box-ticking exercise,” added Forrester.

“Our members will each be independently assessed by Bureau Veritas, a global certification body – we are the only UK organisation that does this.”

However, Forrester recognised that there could be challenges facing the scheme: “The danger is that internal audits by trade bodies are potentially weakened by pressure to allow companies to pass, which
we know happens in other associations. By using a third-party verification, clients can be sure our audits are legitimate and every BPCA member company is held to the same high standard.”

The complete structure of the company will have to ensure that everything from its working practices and training to its ethos and values are aligned to the correct standards.

“Those who don’t meet the criteria at the moment will be offered all the help and support they need to get there,” Forrester added.

“This is a move which sends out a strong message that when people use BPCA members, they can have peace of mind that the job will be done properly. We want the BPCA to remain the mark of professionalism in UK pest management, and for clients to know to look for our logo every time they select a pest management company.”

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