Using toxic bait in grain stores while grain is in store

We listened to, and acted on, members’ concerns that the current combinable crops and sugar beet standards compromised food safety in stored grain by not allowing the use of toxic rodent bait while grain was in store to control mice.

The new VC.3 standard (from 1st October 2022)  allows the use of toxic baits in grain stores while grain is being stored. 

Q. Why does the standard only allow the toxic baiting of mice and not rats in the store?

A. Rats are far easier to exclude from a grain store through proofing.  Rats also need a constant supply of fresh water and must leave and re-enter the store on a regular basis.  Mice, however, are much more difficult to control and, once established within a store, can survive and multiply without leaving the store for water.

Q. I have had a mouse problem in my store for the last two years, can I place toxic paste/gel as prescribed by the scheme before I start filling the store?

A. Yes, if there is a history of a mouse infestation in the store then the bait boxes with toxic gel/paste inside can be placed in readiness. This differs from outside baiting as there should be no non-target species in the grain store.

Q. Why can I only use a specific type of bait box in the store?

A. It was agreed by the Red Tractor Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) that to ensure crop contamination was kept to a minimum, the bait box must be lockable, identifiable, and only allow mice to enter. The box must also be secured to the side of the shed. A map of the store must show locations of all bait boxes.

Q. Why can I only use specific gel/paste products?

A. This is to reduce the risk of contamination to the stored crop.  A gel/paste product will stick in the bait box and not fall out, whereas loose grain bait and wax/pasta blocks, or the kibbled pieces produced from mice eating these products, can fall out of the box on to stored grain, leading to contamination.

Q. Do my farm staff or I need to have a certificate of competence for using toxic bait in the grain store?

A. No, as you are a member of the Red Tractor crops and sugar beet scheme that incorporates the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) you can buy and use rodenticides without a Lantra/NPTC certificate.

Q. Is there any kind of training I must complete to ensure I am using toxic baits in store correctly?

A. Yes, there is a training document hosted on the Red Tractor website that must be read by the person placing the toxic bait in the grain store. This must be documented on the individual’s training record. The training document ‘Safe mouse control in a grain store’ is hosted on the Red Tractor website HERE

Q. I use a vermin control contractor, does the new standard apply to them?

A. Yes, vermin control contractors must follow the standards set out in VC.3. The only point that does not apply is VC.3.e, the contractor is not required to carry out and document the Red Tractor training.