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Electrifying pest control solution

23 April 2019

Food Processing takes a look at an innovative new rodent control solution that is not subject to regulation in the same way as some other solutions. 

Food Processors have a legal responsibility to ensure food safety and hygiene throughout their facilities. This includes preventing contamination by rodents and other pests. 

There are some specific problems which can be difficult to overcome when it can comes to controlling rodents in food manufacturing areas. Rodenticide placement, for example, is legally restricted to areas where food is not being processed due to the risk of dangerous contamination. Food preparation areas, however,  are often targeted by rodents, attracted by the food itself. Also, a poisoned rat can take some time to die, during which time it is still able to contaminate food and equipment.

Size and complexity of buildings and open access points can make rodent-proofing a very difficult, if not impossible, task. Many rodents are becoming wise to traps and repellents are not usually effective enough to keep rodents away from the strong draw of food odour.

An interesting new rodent control product has recently been developed by Hammer Technologies, which could offer a solution for food producers. RatMat is a non-lethal rodent repellent which works like an electric fence, but on the floor. Rodents will receive a mild repellent electric shock if they stand on the flooring, but it will have no effect on humans walking on it with shoes nor on vehicles driving over it. This makes it an effective barrier to rodents but not to humans. In tests over the course of several years, no bait was taken from the surface of the RatMat on any occasion. In many of the tests, rats did not even step on the floor, giving the mats a wide berth.

The flooring is available as a series of modular interlocking tiles which  can be easily cleaned and which also offers the benefit of not carrying the burden of service charges or regulation like rodenticides. The tiles are made of pressed steel, and a robust, injection-moulded base.

The tiles are powered by a compact energiser box (approx. 20 x 8 x 6cm) which is connected to mains electricity and converts the energy into a safe electric shock. Each inter-connectable tile measures 31 × 31 × 1.2cm. 

The creators of RatMat are currently exploring the different ways that the flooring can be used to control rodents in critical areas. As well as positioning important machinery and other equipment directly on the flooring it can also be used across a threshold, as a perimeter or to create quarantined zones. This would be useful if rodents are accidentally brought into an area in a container or vehicle, preventing them moving further through a building.

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