Pre-service preparation is an essential aspect of the safety and efficacy of any fumigation service, with proper sealing of critical importance for both. The structure or area to be fumigated must be tightly sealed with no gaps or cracks. If only part of a building is to be fumigated, it can be sealed off with polyethylene sheeting and adhesive tapes or sprays or other methods employed by the trained fumigator.
If not properly sealed, the fumigants can leak out, resulting in insufficient gas levels for complete elimination. As stated in the UK document, “Leaks can allow fumigant concentration to drop below lethal levels before the required exposure period has elapsed.” Additionally, leaks can expose persons or products outside the fumigation area to be exposed to toxic fumes. Thus, it is critical that prepping the area for the service be thorough, and all fumigant label directions be followed both in preparing for and conducting a fumigation service.
Of those respondents whose facility uses fumigation services, with at least some of it conducted by a pest control company, the responses were fairly evenly split on who conducts that preparation. Thirty-five percent stated that the preparation is conducted solely by the pest control company, 24% prepped for the service themselves and 41% split the prep work between internal employees and those of the pest control company.
How much time does a food facility need to dedicate when its internal employees are doing the preparation work for the service? A majority of the respondents (74%) said it took at least an hour, with 14% stating that 10 or more hours had to be dedicated to a preparation. (Table 9)