Technical pest management news

21 February 2023

Pest control contract specifications: a checklist for food clients

PPC 110 | Technical

Grahame Turner, from BPCA Consultant member company PestAcuity, is back! He’s put together a checklist of items you might need to include for your food clients when working on a pest control specification.

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With all contract clients, it is crucial that you establish a specification detailing the agreed service you are providing, so that both parties are clear on what the service includes and excludes.

Clients working with a particular food or pharma accreditation, or supplier standards generally, need to incorporate and define certain additional elements within that specification.

This article provides a checklist of items you might need to include, depending on the standards you are working to. For clarity, I have divided the points under a series of headers. These headers could be used on your specification.


The basis of food pest control is that while occasional pest intrusions can occur, they must be promptly eliminated and not present a risk to products.

Ongoing infestation is unacceptable. Using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) ideology and adhering to Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) is essential. Prevention is the priority, and the most harmful control methods are a last resort.

The scope section could encapsulate these principles, along with some specific details such as:

  • Client address
  • The extent of premises under contract
  • Which standards are to be followed
  • Who is responsible for what (eg pest contractor might be responsible for removing droppings, and the site for providing high-level access equipment)
  • Contract duration.

Pests and services covered

Detail for this section could include:

  • List of species controlled within the price of the contract (including the scientific names can help ensure no confusion)
  • Whether they are controlled both internally and externally or just internally (eg rats might be both, but field mice just internal)
  • Species monitored, which might differ from those controlled within the contract (eg invasive ants)
  • Any treatments or services excluded (eg heat treatments or fumigations)
  • What treatments you would provide for each pest type
  • How specimens or pest evidence will be identified.


Some of the standards restrict monitor type or how or where they are used. 

You might include in this section:

  • Type of box/holder to be used and their features, eg robust, metal-detectable plastic, tamper-resistant, lockable
  • If they are to be secured in position and how
  • What they will contain, eg toxic/non-toxic, edible/inedible, pheromone/no pheromone
  • If the contents will be spill-proof
  • How often baits, pheromones, and sticky inserts will be replaced
  • How locations will be determined
  • If box keys will be held on-site.

risk assessment

Visit frequency

Increasingly, standards now specify that the pest species being managed should be determined by a pest risk assessment (PRA). 

PRAs can be required at least annually, but also whenever there is a change to site or site activities, or if there is a major infestation.

Thus, the visit frequency needs to be flexible throughout the year, depending on any updated PRA outcome (so, perhaps for your quotation, it would be easier to specify a price per technician or biologist visit rather than a price per annum). 

Detail for this section could include:

  • Range of visit frequency (note that some standards specify a minimum)
  • Inspection intervals (generally, these will be equally spaced but allow for variations due to technician availability)
  • Will any electronic monitoring reduce the number of physical inspections or just allow a different focus?
  • Can technician and biologist visits be made to coincide?
  • Expected duration of visits.


Fly killers

It is impossible to keep all flying insects out of food premises, so it is important that fly killers are installed to eliminate flies that do enter, as well as provide a monitoring tool for flies that might be breeding within the facility. 

A detailed specification on fly killers might include:

  • Where EFKs will be located
  • If the tubes are going to be shatterproof
  • When the tubes/LED strips will be replaced
  • How far away from the product and packaging can EFKs be placed
  • The categories of catch to be recorded
  • The frequency of unit servicing and the catch counts to be completed (perhaps determined by the PRA)
  • Time of day for the EFKs to be serviced
  • The form that the catch analysis will take.


  • Call out maximum response times
  • Who can request a call out
  • Follow-up frequency and number of clear visits required
  • Note > Some supermarkets specify exactly what this needs to be for some pests, while others allow for it to be risk dependent. It can vary depending on the type of control being implemented, eg Tesco requires daily visits when using break-back traps.
  • If night visits are required
  • If any treatments require authorisation
  • If there are any prohibited treatments (eg pesticides in the vicinity of organic products).

Technician and biologist visit activities

  • The form of proof for checking the monitors (eg dating boxes internally, barcode scanning)
  • The personnel assessing proofing and housekeeping and making recommendations
  • The minimum proportion of the monitors checked by the biologist
  • What happens if any monitors are found to be missing
  • If any other inspection will take place in addition to monitor checking
  • The documents to be completed at each visit, and the form the records will take
  • The liaison with site management that should take place each visit
  • The timeframes given for recommendations to be completed, and how they will be followed up.

Trend analysis

  • The infestations that will be analysed for trends
  • The format of the trend analysis
  • The frequency of trend analysis
  • The tolerance levels of pests before any enhanced analysis and action plans are implemented.

Folder documentation

  • What individual records and documents will be provided (see article in PPC108).

Competence and qualifications

  • The method for demonstrating ongoing competence (minimum qualifications/accreditations/BPCA membership/CPD scheme membership).


  • A sentence stating that you will comply with all relevant local legislation and codes of best practice.


  • The frequency that contract reviews will take place and who will attend.

There is no set format for the specification. It could be a generic form with tick-boxes, or it could be a bespoke document for each different client. 

Note that the contract specification is an important document for the demonstration of due diligence, so whatever form it takes, it is necessary for it to be both comprehensive and clear. 

When drawing up a specification, it is essential to refer to the relevant standards documents to ensure you are complying with all requirements.

Do you want help with your specification?

If you're a BPCA member and you have questions about standards or specifications, get in touch with our team.
01332 294 288

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