Fruit flies are one of the most invasive restaurant pests in MN this time of the year. While MN food safety certification
training does not specifically cover how to control fruit flies, keeping them out of your facility is an important part of maintaining a clean and safe environment.
Keeping a clean kitchen seems an obvious step towards preventing a fruit fly infestation, but a simple surface clean will not prevent them from appearing. A deep clean will be necessary to remove potential fruit fly nesting sites. Hidden breeding grounds often exist under refrigeration units, sinks and designated preparation areas.
Fruit flies thrive on fruit and vegetable matter. Keeping fruit and vegetables from becoming nesting grounds for these pests becomes vital not only for keeping them out of the kitchen, but also for food safety. Storing normally shelf-stable produce under refrigeration rather than on counter surfaces will keep your fruits and vegetables out of warmer temperatures in which fruit flies thrive.
Maintaining produce quality for items that are located in dry-storage locations is vitally important. A potato or squash that has begun to rot will not only attract pests, it will become a major breeding ground that has the potential to infest your entire work space. Keeping your produce areas clean and free of spoiled items will greatly reduce your risk.
Even if you have taken all the necessary steps to prevent fruit flies from finding nesting grounds, they will inevitably make an appearance. The next step is to remove them from your work space.
Fruit fly strips are readily available at local hardware stores, but care must be taken when they are used in food preparation facilities. MN food safety certification training states that all pest control chemicals must be kept away from food. Proper placement for fruit fly strips will be in places such as inside the lids of covered garbage cans, near compost containers and under sinks and other surfaces.
For areas where a fruit fly strip will not be an option, such as near food preparation areas and where they will be visible to
customers, a rudimentary trap may be an alternative. These can easily be made using a shallow opaque glass or bowl filled with a small amount of apple cider vinegar or orange juice with a thin film of dish soap floated on top. Fruit flies will be attracted to the sugar of the vinegar or juice and become trapped when the soap prevents them from breathing.
While MN food safety certification training does not outline steps for preventing these invasive pests, there are ways to control their presence and provide a safe and healthy food preparation environment.