Food service industry warned about consequences of poor hygiene

Flies can ruin more than just a diner’s dinner, say experts

A leading pest control firm is warning the food service industry to lift its game and urgently tackle the underestimated problem of flies, as upset diners stage a coup against poor hygiene.

Just this month, the NSW Food Authority revealed its Name and Shame register had received 7million hits since it was launched in 2008*. The website, whose format has been replicated by other Australian states, publicly names businesses that fail to meet food safety standards. Amongst complaints from diners are pest control (13%) and a general lack of hygiene and sanitation (35%).

Flies are often waved away as a small problem but the facts are worrying. Flies carry more than 100 pathogens and can spread diseases like E.coli and salmonella, which can have serious and even fatal consequences.

Simon Lean, Australian Technical Manager, at Rentokil is calling for business owners to take the problem of flies seriously and address any issues well before customers start complaining or falling ill, and the authorities come knocking.

“Australians are well-accustomed to the ‘windscreen wiper’ approach of waving away the ubiquitous fly at picnics and at home. But business owners have a responsibility to provide a clean and safe environment for diners. An insect problem is not only unappetising, but also compromises the health of customers. Each individual fly carries around 2million bacteria, and flies do their damage as soon as they come into contact with food and drink, so it’s vital that they are stopped in their tracks.”

But the damage doesn’t end with health and safety concerns. Kate Levy, Rentokil’s
Head of Marketing Services, warns business owners of the reputational damage that
can also cripple their business.

“In the modern age of social media where information travels fast and bad news even faster, a simple click of a button can irreversibly damage a restaurant or café’s reputation, which takes years to build. While previously a diner might have complained about a fly in their soup just to a waiter, nowadays a photo is taken, the restaurant is tagged and the information is posted across social media for all to see and share.

“Business owners can save themselves potential embarrassment, and the financial fallout of this, by following a few simple steps to ensure that flies don’t become a big problem.”

Five ways to prevent Irritable Fly Syndrome (IFS)

If there’s one thing less appetising than a colony of flies invading your lunch, it’s the intoxicating waft of fly spray. Rentokil experts have devised a five-point plan to take on problem flies.

  1. Empty bins regularly and ensure food is sealed tightly in plastic bags and the
    bin lid is firmly closed
  2. Take away customers’ plates and cups as soon as possible and wipe down
    surfaces regularly
  3. As well as front-of-house, ensure kitchen worktops, sinks and appliances are kept clean, especially before close
  4. Regularly disinfect the floor and drains
  5. Install an electronic insect control unit

Read the press release in full (PDF 120KB).