A Masa worker performing pest control in a food godown

A Masa worker performing pest control in a food godown

Keeping food out of harm’s way

Mohammad Arif Hussain, entomologist at Masa Establishment, Saudi Arabia, throws light on the hazards of having pests in facilities producing and storing food

01 March 2016

When it comes to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) in the food products industry, one expects the norms are designed to ensure at least one very basic requirement – that food will be produced under hygienic conditions, and microbiological, chemical and physical hazards will be prevented. Establishing procedures for pest control is an important component of GMPs. Pests are harmful organisms and can cost the food industry a very great deal. The pests of primary concern are insects and rodents and they spread disease through food. They carry pathogenic bacteria both internally and on their bodies. Birds sometimes may become a problem in food processing areas and are a potential public health hazard.

Masa Establishment in Saudi Arabia has a full backup of scientific and technological support with a research and development department whose main functions are focused on research covering pests, pesticides and the equipment related to the technical aspects of operations including the delivery mechanism. This unit is staffed with skilled and dedicated entomology and pesticide specialists with adequate exposure and experience in the field of public health and agriculture.

The company is specialised and authorised to perform pest control: general public health vector/pest control, termite control and fumigation. Masa also tackles other pests including birds, snakes, scorpions, lizards and cats.



It is vital that pest controllers have knowledge of distinguishing characteristics of the orders of insect they are often called on to control.  Such knowledge will be valuable in beginning the identification process. It is often necessary to know the exact species of insect involved in a problem. It would be helpful to know what the major pests are in Saudi Arabia.  They are listed as carpenter ants, domestic flies (house fly, flesh fly, blow fly, moth fly, phorid fly, fruit fly, etc), biting flies (midges, eye gnats, horse fly, deer fly, black fly, stable fly), mosquitoes (Aedes, Anopheles, Culex, etc), rats and mice, cockroaches (American, Oriental, German and brown banded), bed bugs, ticks and mites, rat fleas and other organisms. All these are responsible in causing and spreading serious diseases such as plague, murine typhus, rickettsial pox, salmonellosis, rat bite fever, leptospirosis, trichinosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, typhoid, dysentery, hog cholera, aspergillosis, encephalitis, pseudo tuberculosis, avian tuberculosis, toxoplasmosis, Japanese encephalitis, filariasis, yellow fever and dengue fever and malaria, among other ailments.



The science of fumigation is highly specialised and technical in nature, requiring a great deal of skill, knowledge and experience for successful and safe usage. Fumigation may be defined as the act of introducing a toxic chemical in an enclosed space in such a manner that it disperses quickly and acts in a gaseous or vapour state on the target organism. Due to their physical characteristics, fumigants occupy all air spaces within an enclosed area. Fumigants penetrate cracks, crevices, pores in wood and the commodity being treated. Their ability to penetrate and fill all voids makes them ideally suited in many situations for the control of structural and commodity pests that other type of chemicals cannot reach. Fumigation should be only part of a pest management strategy, especially where stored products are involved. The unlimited goal in the management of pests in stored products should be to improve the methods of handling, storing and processing and packaging of commodities in order that the need for pesticides will decrease. Fumigations are needed only when unavoidable infestations occur. Fumigation practices must be determined by the problem pests, fumigant to be used and the size or volume of structure to be fumigated.



A fog of protection spreads as a Masa pest control technician goes about his work

A fog of protection spreads as a Masa pest control technician goes about his work

Termite control is a specialised job approved only to be performed by professionals. The perfect termite control job calls for good termite training and lengthy experience. Generally, the main focus of termite control is the type of construction or the manner in which a building is built. The main interest in termite control is to accomplish a complete and continuous chemical barrier wrapped around the walls and footings of the building, making it impossible for termites to gain entry and protecting the structure from perils emerging from termite nests. Knowledge of the types of construction will yield better results in termite control jobs.

Consistent to the above statement, termite control doesn’t only involve chemical application but also mechanical alteration and environmental modification or moisture control. These steps will prove to be valuable in the control and prevention of termite infestations. 

The chemical approach is the ultimate measure in termite control and prevention, involving as it does the judicial application of insecticidal chemicals labeled as termiticides. Termiticides are specially designed to be active in the soil over long periods so termites are kept at bay for as long as possible and prevented from entering the structure which could result in considerable damage to it.

The latest among termiticides, Raslan Plus 30.5 per cent SC, is available in the Saudi Arabian market and registered under the name of Masa Establishment by the Saudi Food & Drug Authority.

Termite control jobs by Masa are usually accompanied by a guarantee of workmanship and involve two major treatments: pre-construction and post-construction.

Pre-construction treatment refers to the application of termiticide emulsion during the construction stages, starting from the foundation footings.

Post-construction treatment is usually done by drilling and injecting plus application of dust or gel and other type of formulation for the purpose of killing existing termite infestation within the structure.

Masa with its flawless 36 years of record has gained a strong foothold in the pest control industry. Its operations are characterised by a strict appraisal of the situation and delivery of a high-quality of service.

Its staff are trained, certified and insured for this particular kind of work. Furthermore, as a member of 13 international pest control associations it understands the concerns over pests and it exerts every effort to boost public awareness of pest hazards and urges the public to cooperate. Their best bet would be to cooperate with a professional pest control operator such as Masa to maintain a healthy environment.

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