Organic pest control could save firms thousands.
Using heat to kill insects was first pioneered seven years ago as an organic alternative to fumigation.
But since then, it has been developed so that, as well as being organic and in some cases, cheaper than fumigation, it is now so much quicker that it can save food producers days in lost production for every infestation.
Now one of the UK's leading pest control experts has set up a new company specifically to deal with using heat to tackle dangerous insects and, potentially, viruses.
"Unlike fumigation, with heat, whole factories or production lines don't have to be closed altogether while the work is ongoing," said David Elebert, MD of Eleberts Pestforce.
"Instead, our new company, Heat Treat, can work on machines one by one while other product lines continue right alongside.
"We can work much quicker than with fumigation and, unlike with fogging and sprays, heat kills all stages of an insect's life cycle."
Infestations of store product insects can cause great problems to food packagers and producers whose margins are also being squeezed by the major supermarkets.
Because insects have no means of regulating their own temperature, they are more susceptible to hot conditions than other animals.
Carefully heating their local environment, therefore, to temperatures of up to 52[degrees]C causes the insects to erupt from their harbourage areas and die from heat stress within hours.
In fact, by eradicating the problem in a targeted and more efficient way, Eleberts Pestforce estimate that on some factory infestations, using food producers could save up to 20,000 [pounds sterling] per treatment in fees and lost production.
Heat Treat is also seeking to carry out further research into the system's effectiveness against viruses such as salmonella and bird flu--which are both known to thrive in cooler conditions. "With the use of the old ozone-depleting pesticides being restricted, poultry farms and food producers have to find new ways to eradicate mites and other insects from their buildings and machinery," Mr Elebert added.
"Not only does heat do that, but it is totally organic and can be used far more quickly and efficiently than fumigation, saving food producers thousands in lost production."
To launch the new company, Heat Treat has unveiled an informative new website showing how heat treatment works on a wide range of different insects and pests.
Because heat can also be used to treat timber used in shipping pallets, the website also contains details on the vast array of regulations--the Wood Packaging Material Regulations, or ISPM15--which exporters must comply with governing the movement of goods between different countries world-wide.
Contact Heat Treat: Northern Office on tel: 01925 752 300 or Southern Office on tel: 01354 696 931 or visit www.heat-treat.co.uk
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|Publication:||Food Trade Review|
|Date:||Aug 1, 2006|
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