Food/Packaging Industry – Will your pest control contractor cause non-conformances in your audits?
September 29, 2015
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One of our customers recently asked me for a price to supply electric fly killers for his newly refurbished kitchen. Ours cost around £120.00 per unit, as they are sourced from a UK manufacturer and have a 2 year guarantee. He pondered long and hard over my advice then decided to buy them from the internet for less than 20 quid a unit, saving over £800.

Intrigued, I started searching eBay for electric fly killers and I have to say the choice is amazing. These units (All made in the Far East) were in all shapes and sizes- big, small, metal, plastic, wall mounted and free standing. The one thing that they all have in common is that they are all really, really cheap.

The chance to save some money can be really tempting. But going back to my customer’s new kitchen, here’s what happened next:

The tubes (Bulbs) started blowing at a terrific rate. When we tried to service them, we couldn’t actually open them as special tools were required.

We tried to get hold of shatterproof tubes but couldn’t. In a food handling environment, this is a real problem. Again, browsing eBay, some of these tubes cost over £50 per tube. If that’s a two tube unit-you are looking at £100 per unit, just for tubes, and that’s if they last for the whole year!

The cheap units were CE or kite marked but their construction was to a really poor standard and I wouldn’t have slept at night knowing they were up in my kitchen. There was no guarantee.

The catch trays were extremely shallow. Any experienced auditor would have identified this as a serious contamination risk.

In the end, the customer had to scrap the cheap units and stump up for the “Expensive” option. When trying to console him, I was able to remind him that the cost of these units does however include certain extras. These are:

We recommend the correct unit for your needs and deliver them to your site free of charge.

We advise as to best locations. The stated coverage on the box will be reduced by things such as obstructions, machinery and the shape of the room.

We advise of the golden rules such as height, air flow, avoiding contamination and competing light sources to ensure that you have the right unit in the right location.

In summary, I would recommend that unless you are an expert in the above then the advice provided by a pest control professional should prove to be invaluable. Of course, you don’t have to pay the quoted price – Twist their arm and get a decent discount as your loyalty should be important to them. I offered a very generous 50% discount to my customer in the end. But of course, I insisted that he throws in a skinny latte on every visit!

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