Fruit flies on an orange.

small flies and food safety

Although the fruit fly (also known as a small fly) has historically been considered a nuisance pest, recent research proves that small flies contaminate food with bacteria carried from unsanitary surfaces (such as trash, drains, mops, etc.). 

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Small Flies and Food Safety

Although the fruit fly (also known as a small fly) has historically been considered a nuisance pest, recent research proves that small flies contaminate food with bacteria carried from unsanitary surfaces (such as trash, drains, mops, etc.). Small flies feed and breed in decaying and bacteria-ridden areas, then land on food and food-contact surfaces where they can transmit foodborne bacteria and ultimately spread different types of foodborne illness. Economic risk is a reality, as restaurants have been ordered by health departments to close due to fruit fly infestations. 

What starts as a small problem can quickly overrun your operation, since small flies lay up to 100 eggs per day and each egg matures into a fly in 10 to 20 days. Each species of small fly can indicate unique sanitation problems, said Ecolab Senior Scientist and Urban Entomologist Dr. John Barcay. “An infestation of fruit flies can signify issues such as over-ripe, rotting produce or dirty drains, while a phorid fly infestation is indicative of dirty drains, stagnant water, roof leaks or sub-slab sewer line breakage. Moth flies will result from sanitation issues in drains, filters, and sewers,” Barcay explained. “But,” he added, “no matter what species of fly you have in your facility, it is a food safety issue indicative of sanitation and/or structural issues, and could lead to audit or inspection failures as well as poor customer experiences that create a negative economic impact on your business.”

 

 

more resources

Fruit fly.
facts about small flies

Depending on the types of flies that are present, different actions may be required for treatment and elimination. Understanding some of the more common types of small flies and their preferred breeding sites can help with fly prevention in your facility. 

People out to eat sitting around a table.
small flies and customer experience

You’re enjoying a meal with friends at a restaurant and mid-sentence, you notice a fruit fly buzzing around in front of you. While you probably find this to be a nuisance, did you know it is also a sign of sanitation issues in the restaurant? 

Small flies on fruit.
fly control and prevention

There are many simple actions that can make a big difference in avoiding a fruit fly infestation.