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Pests can cause large economic losses in the pharmaceutical industry through contamination of raw materials, store rooms, laboratories, production areas, packaging and finished products.
Regulations require cleaning operations to include laboratory tests to validate sanitation and hygiene and absence of residue from previous production ingredients and cleaning products.
Standards expected are extremely high to maintain the quality and efficacy of products.
The consequences of pest infestation can be serious for a company, including:
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an essential component of good manufacturing practices for maintaining high standards of sanitation. An IPM programme develops the most appropriate practices for monitoring, preventing and controlling pest infestations according to a customer’s specific business requirements.
Rentokil’s decades of experience with thousands of customers in the pharmaceutical sector has given us unique expertise and insights in pest control for the pharmaceutical sector. From our experience in managing pest infestations in the sector, the major pests in pharmaceutical facilities are:
Flying insects pose the greatest pest risk to pharmaceutical facilities, according to Rentokil data.
A number of fly species can be present around manufacturing facilities, depending on the environment, the materials used in the plant that could attract insects, and the potential breeding conditions around the plant.
Flying insects that could infest a facility and compromise clean areas include:
Flying insects have been found to carry over 100 human pathogens, including Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli, Cryptosporidium, parasitic worms and fungi. They feed on faecal matter, garbage, rotting materials, as well as stored food products. They move between contaminated food sources and clean areas, carrying filth on their bodies as well as pathogenic microorganisms they have ingested. Flies such as house flies regurgitate digestive juices and defecate while feeding and resting, contaminating foods and surfaces with pathogenic and decay microorganisms.
For pest control, it is important to identify which fly species is present as each has different attractants and breeding habits.
Flying insects can be controlled using appropriate design and maintenance of the facility, general hygiene practices, and elimination of an infestation using a range of Rentokil products suitable for use in a pharmaceutical plant.
Exclusion is dependent on the design and maintenance of the facility, including:
Standard hygiene practices are important for controlling flies to reduce attractive odours, feeding material and breeding sites.
Elimination of flies
Cockroaches are the most common type of crawling insect that infest facilities.
Cockroaches cause particular problems because of their size, giving them the ability to hide in small places, their varied diet, rapid reproduction and the diseases they can carry.
There are three common species that infest facilities:
Cockroaches are primarily nocturnal, sheltering in the daytime and coming out at night to find food and other sites for shelter. They shelter in dark places such as cracks, crevices, drains, sewers, inside equipment, machinery and hidden spaces that provide the right temperature and humidity. These places are also hard to reach using normal cleaning and sanitation methods.
Good sanitation practices will help prevent infestations and pick up the presence of cockroaches:
A number of treatments are available for control of cockroaches, including sprays, aerosols, dusts and bait. The insecticides used must be permitted for use in a pharmaceutical facility and will require competent, trained personnel to apply them.
Rentokil can survey facilities and advise on the suitable, safe and permitted means of control, including chemical-free control methods suitable for sensitive business environments and insect monitor units to detect signs of activity.
Rats and mice pose a serious risk to pharmaceutical facilities from both the damage they can cause to buildings, fittings, equipment and products, and the risk of contamination from a range of pathogens in a highly sensitive production environment.
The hazards to facilities from rats and mice include:
Rats and mice have distinct but different signatures that show which pest is present:
Control of rodents involves the elimination of harbourage in and around buildings and preventing access to food, water and shelter. There may be many points of entry to a building, such as cracks, vents, pipes, cabling, drains, doorways, windows and screens, where measures can be taken to prevent access.
Any rodents present must be controlled using traps or poison according to acceptable practices and legislation related to pharmaceutical production.
Rodenticides used in pharmaceutical facilities must be approved products, placed in secure bait stations and away from production areas. If stored on site they must also be stored in suitable conditions that prevent contamination from the poison in products and the environment.
Expertise is needed to determine the type of bait used, where it should be placed and the frequency, the monitoring regime and the documentation, which is best done using an outside contractor. If done in-house, staff will need to be certified to handle the chemicals and carry out the rodent control activities.
Rentokil offers a range of industry-leading rodent-control systems suitable for use in pharmaceutical facilities. We select the most appropriate combination of devices for each customer’s circumstances to monitor, alert and eliminate rodents.
The buildings of a manufacturing facility provide safe areas to roost on the structure and in spaces such as under roofs. The most common bird pests are pigeons, house sparrows, seagulls and starlings.
Birds can cause physical damage by dislodging roofing material, particularly the larger birds, and blocking guttering with nests and feathers. Their droppings foul buildings, vehicles, paved areas and building entrances.
Inside buildings, bird droppings, nesting material and feathers can contaminate surfaces, equipment and products.
Birds are known to transmit over 60 human pathogens, including Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium and avian flu.
Bird nesting and roosting sites also encourage infestations of bird mites, fleas and some beetle species.
Bird control consists of preventing access to food, water and shelter. Basic practices to prevent access to food and water are:
Denying shelter includes eliminating nesting and feeding sites on buildings and in the vicinity of the facility. This should start with the building design and include measures to prevent access to flat roofs, balconies, ledges, chimney stacks, guttering and culverts, which are favourite areas for nesting.
Rentokil provides a range of bird repellent systems including:
Rentokil offers an Integrated Bird Management Program that safely and humanely controls bird pests through a comprehensive solution of trapping, removal, and targeted exclusion techniques.
Stored product insects (SPIs) include beetles, weevils, moths and mites (arachnids) that can infest edible pharmaceutical ingredients such as starches, sugars or natural herbal products used to extract medically active compounds.
SPIs introduce undesirable microorganisms into sterile ingredients, making them unfit for use.
The pest activity in ingredients can also change their physical and chemical properties which can halt production lines and damage machinery.
Stored product insects can also enter packaging made of paper, cardboard, plastic, cellophane and foil. The entrance holes of some insect are smaller than can be seen by the human eye.
Signs of stored product pests include:
Rentokil offers a range of systems for the monitoring and control of stored product pests, including glue traps with species-specific pheromone bait, pheromone traps, heat treatment and fumigation.
WHO. Public Health Significance of Urban Pests.
UNIDO. Good Manufacturing Practices: Pest Control. Paper 9.