Pest is any species, strain or biotype of plant, animal or pathogenic agent injurious to plants or plant products (FAO, 1990; revised FAO, 1995; IPPC, 1997).
Any stored or transported food commodity can be subject to attack by pests:
Food aid commodities in store are particularly vulnerable to attack by insects, rodents, and to a lesser extent by birds.
Pest infestation compromises the characteristics and self-life of commodities. It can impact the safety of food products via the trasmission of zoonotic diseases (e.g. leptospirosis from rodent urine or droppings). Pests can damage packaging materials (holes, gnawing, chewing) and result in major losses of food that is eaten, spoiled or contaminated by them. Moreover, pests may provoke severe damages at the warehouse premises. For example, they may cause fire hazards by gnawing of the electrical wires.