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Turning up heat on food factory pests

04 March 2010

Following three years of research and extensive testing, Rentokil has announced a chemical-free pest control process called ‘Entotherm’

This can eliminate insect pests that affect the food manufacturing industry through the application of dry transferrable heat.

The treatment is quick and efficient to apply, and reaches all areas of infestation. Developed with its partner The Revival Group, the heat treatment will revolutionise the way that Rentokil treats all insects in food processing and manufacturing facilities.

The process makes it possible to eliminate insect infestations in food manufacturing factories, warehouses and grain silos quickly and efficiently. All life cycle stages of the pest, from eggs and larvae to fully grown adults, can be eradicated with just one treatment, making it a very effective way to treat stored product insects such as beetles, weevils and moths.

Stored product insects can contaminate food stuffs at both larval and adult stages and are then easily transferred to milling and processing machinery. As Entotherm is chemical free any factories or machinery treated are safe to be fully operational again within hours which minimises production downtime and associated costs involved.

Entotherm can deliver the pest-free environment that is essential for food manufacturing businesses to operate. Even the smallest pest infestation can be damaging: food manufacturing is governed by strict legislation that means any pest activity will result in a fine and could even result in the premises being closed down.

It is also important that pests do not end up in food produce as this is damaging to both brand and industry reputation. Rentokil can use thermal imaging technology to assess whether the treatment has worked sufficiently to kill pests located in any blind spots and more importantly, machinery.

Savvas Othon, Technical Director, Rentokil, comments: “Rentokil is the only company offering this kind of treatment nationwide. We believe that the development of Entotherm is a huge advancement in the treatment and eradication of insect pests affecting food manufacturing businesses. Not only it is highly effective requiring one swift treatment, it causes minimal disruption to production.”

How it works
The process works by heating up the affected area to a temperature of 56°C. At this temperature all life stages of insects will die after one hour. The heat kills the insects in two ways: denaturing of the proteins within the insect’s body and disrupting the waxy layers on the outside of the insect, causing dehydration. Entotherm is a mobile system that can deliver dry transferable heat to any food manufacturing space infested with pests. The process works by heating a liquid syrup and delivering it through insulated pipes to heat exchangers which are placed inside the infested treatment zone.

The heat exchangers convert heat into hot dry air which is discharged at a pre-determined temperature. Strategically placed electronic heat probes monitor and record the core temperature. The process is monitored remotely on a laptop, producing a computer generated graph as proof of heat exposure. The treatment zone is heated up and maintained at 56°C for one hour to eradicate pests, but will not cause any structural damage. Rentokil can run reports using the heat probes and thermal imaging technology to confirm that all target pests have been eradicated effectively.

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