If you run a grocery store, you know about health inspectors and health codes. You also know that the last thing you need in this fragile economy is a health code violation. Most cities in the U.S. have two types of violations: critical and non-critical. Pest birds can cause a critical violation. If you want to continue to do business, you must find a way to get rid of birds that may be loitering around your store.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, critical violations could cause a food-borne illness to infect a person. Most government inspection programs are based primarily on food safety, instead of food quality.

Stores are categorized based on the food safety risk posed by any activity conducted in the store. If a store is handling easily spoiled or food subject to infection, such as raw meat or deli service, it is considered a high-risk store and inspections are conducted more frequently. Moderate risk stores include convenience stores that heat cooked foods like hot dogs or pizza. Low risk stores usually carry only pre-packaged, non-potentially hazardous foods. There are many ways to get rid of birds, which when spotted by health inspectors, may cause you to incur a health code violation.

Keep in mind that the inspection schedule for many states is once every 6 months for high-risk establishments, every 18 months for moderate risk stores, and every 24 months for low-risk stores. The reason for this is based partly on the dangers posed by pest birds.

More than 250 food borne diseases are caused by the consumption of contaminated foods. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 76 million cases of food borne diseases occur annually in the U.S., resulting in approximately 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths. These illnesses are mostly bacterial, viral or parasitic infections consisting of a variety of symptoms.  Among the most commonly recognized food borne infections are those caused by Salmonella, E. coli, and a group of viruses called Calicivirus. So you see, it's imperative that you find a way to get rid of birds.

Since feral birds can carry many of these diseases on their body, nests and droppings, grocery store owners and managers must do all they can to remove pest birds from their premises. 

One way to exclude pest birds from selected areas of your grocery store is though the use of bird netting. This barrier method of bird control has proven quite effective as a way to get rid of birds. Netting can easily be installed around signs, canopies, and the rooftops of your store. It comes in a variety of mesh sizes to deter sparrow, starlings, pigeons, seagulls and larger birds. Bird netting also comes in several colors--white, stone and black--to match your store's color scheme. The best netting usually meets ISO 1806 protocols and will last for years. For use outside in heavy sun or inclement weather, opt for U.V.-stabilized, flame resistant netting. You can also get rot- and water-proof netting for areas that are continually damp.

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