The pest was found in pet food in both Brazil and Turkey in 2019, with

previous infestations in Brazil and Europe.

The red-legged ham beetle ( Necrobia rufipes ) was recorded in commercialpet food for the first time in Paraiba State in northeastern Brazil. Lastyear, after the pest was discovered in a supermarket in Campina Grande, asealed 10 kg dog food bag was transported for testing to the Laboratory ofInsect Systematics and Bioecology at the State University of Paraiba. Theiranalysis, published in Entomological News , found over 900 larvae and 500adult beetles infesting the bag.

Similarly, N. rufipes in pet food was also recorded in Turkey in 2019.Published by researchers at the Department of Parasitology, Faculty ofVeterinary Medicine, Ankara University, testing found 180 larvae and 350 adultbeetles in pet food samples collected from Ankara pet clinics.

Pet food pest also found in Rio de Janeiro, Europe

Unlike Turkey, this is not the first time Brazil has recorded this pest in petfood. The beetle was previously reported in southeastern Brazil in 2000 and inRio de Janeiro supermarket pet food in 2003. Since 2015, several reports ofN. rufipes have also been recorded in European pet food warehouses andretail pet stores, particularly in the Mediterranean countries.

Thought to be a scavenging pest, N. rufipes is now understood to beomnivorous, predating on other pet food pests, too. It has historically beenknown for its affinity for meats, but with improved refrigeration standardsfor meat products, the beetle has begun emerging as a dried fish and pet foodpest as well.

Ongoing research into management strategies

These various scientific recordings conclude that the pet food industry is atrisk from N. rufipes due to the high concentration of crude protein in petfood and the beetle’s preference for carton packing materials, from where theygain entry, at packaging or storage sites. Early detection and preventiontechniques for N. rufipes remain the subject of ongoing research, withmanagement strategies being studied including controlled atmosphere,irradiation, botanicals, contact insecticides and fumigation.

With reference to sanitation, training of staff for thorough cleaning offactories, storage facilities and retail sites with cyfluthrin spray isrecommended, as sanitation alone has shown limited success in eliminating theadult form of N. rufipes. With the recent phase-out of methyl bromide as aneffective fumigant for controlling N. rufipes and other pet food pests, thesearch is on for other alternatives; propylene oxide and ethyl formate haveshown promise.

Source: Hassaan Sipra Pet Food

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