Pest Control Legislation for the Hospitality Sector

Pest Control Legislation for the Hospitality Sector – Know the Facts

Pest control is a major issue for businesses in any industry, though is arguably of particular concern for the hospitality sector, as it relies on maintaining a spotlessly clean reputation for good hygiene and a safe environment for both staff and customers. What’s more, there is rigorous legislation in place to enforce good health, hygiene and pest control, which hospitality businesses need to be aware of.

One of the most defining aspects of the hospitality sector is customer satisfaction. While this could be said to be true of practically any business, the hospitality industry relies more than most on customers being happy, due to its additional reliance on targeting disposable income. As such, it is a highly competitive industry, with many different options for consumers to choose from – and they will gladly take their money elsewhere should a business not meet the standards they expect.

A good reputation, therefore, is absolutely vital to businesses operating in this sector and once earned, is one of the most valuable marketing assets that will ensure ongoing success.

However, poor pest control can put pay to a hard-won and long-earned reputation in the blink of an eye, the consequences of which can be quite literally catastrophic to any business that offers food and/or accommodation-based services.

In addition to potentially irreparable reputation damage however, businesses in the hospitality sector have a duty of care to provide a safe, clean and pest-free environment for customers and employees, for which legislation is in place to ensure.

Let’s consider some of the key pest control rules and regulations affecting businesses in the hospitality sector.

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Food Hygiene and Waste

Any business that serves and/or sells food must ensure that they take adequate measures to prevent contamination by pests.

One of the main pieces of legislation to be aware of is the EU’s Regulation No. 852/2004 On the Hygiene of Foodstuffs. Here it states that food premises are to “permit good food hygiene practices, including protection against contamination and, in particular, pest control”.

In addition, on the matter of food waste, the legislation states that “Adequate provision is to be made for the storage and disposal of food waste, non-edible by-products and other refuse. Refuse stores are to be designed and managed in such a way as to enable them to be kept clean and, where necessary, free of animals and pests.”

The UK’s own regulatory framework regarding pest control for food premises is based on the Food Standards Act 1990 and the Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations made under it.

The framework lays down the general hygiene requirements for all food business operators. In particular, the legislation states that “The siting, design and construction must aim to avoid contamination of food and harbouring of pests. It must be kept clean and in good repair so as to avoid food contamination. It must provide appropriate facilities for personal hygiene. All reasonable, practical steps to avoid the risk of contamination of food or ingredients must be made. There must be a hot and cold water supply and adequate arrangements for storage and disposal of waste.”

HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point)

Procedures that are put in place to prevent contamination – by pests or any other source – should be based upon the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principle. HACCP is a way of managing and identifying food safety hazards in order that measures can be taken to reduce risk.

Food law requires food businesses to implement HACCP principles, which include: regularly monitoring for signs of pests and situations that may lead to or increase the risk of pest infestations; taking pest control action to remove the source of infestation; and keeping records of pest incidences and the measures used to prevent, monitor and control infestations.

Putting HACCP principles into practice means ensuring raw materials, ingredients and prepared foods are kept in conditions that protect them from pests and both direct and indirect contamination. Wherever food is stored, handled, or prepared, adequate procedures must also be put in place to prevent pests from accessing them.

In terms of managing food waste, deploying HACCP principles means being aware that waste containers and the area(s) where waste is stored can attract and harbour all manner of pests, including insects, birds and rodents and taking action to prevent such harbourages. The EU’s Regulation No. 852/2004 On the Hygiene of Foodstuffs specifies that:

  1. Food waste, non-edible by-products and other refuse are to be removed from rooms where food is present as quickly as possible, so as to avoid their accumulation.
  2. Food waste, non-edible by-products and other refuse are to be deposited in closable containers, unless food business operators can demonstrate to the competent authority that other types of containers or evacuation systems used are appropriate. These containers are to be of an appropriate construction, kept in sound condition, be easy to clean and, where necessary, to disinfect.
  3. Adequate provision is to be made for the storage and disposal of food waste, non-edible by-products and other refuse. Refuse stores are to be designed and managed in such a way as to enable them to be kept clean and, where necessary, free of animals and pests.
  4. All waste is to be eliminated in a hygienic and environmentally friendly way in accordance with Community legislation applicable to that effect and is not to constitute a direct or indirect source of contamination.


The Chartered Institution for Environmental Health provides guidelines for managing hotels and other businesses in the hospitality sector.

It states that:

  • Owners and managers of premises are expected to take an active role in pest minimisation and management issues in their accommodation and to obtain professional advice as necessary.
  • Owners and managers of accommodation are expected to employ qualified pest control professionals and to follow safe, effective and sustainable pest control methods.
  • Such expectations are part of the general responsibility and duty of care of premises management to provide a safe environment for employees, customers, contractors and others, under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Safeguard Pest Control

Knowing the law is vital to ensuring your hospitality business stays on the right side of it and thereby protects its reputation by remaining free of pests.

In order to ensure compliance, it is imperative that you employ the services of a professional pest control company, which will be able to advise you specifically, on the best pest control solutions for your particular business.

Safeguard Pest Control has over 30 years’ experience designing and executing bespoke pest control solutions for commercial clients in the hospitality sector. Get in touch today to organise a free site survey.

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