It seems counterintuitive to put out toxic bait to poison mice and rats near your food, so do the best natural alternative instead to discourage them from eating your food: Soak a cotton ball in pure peppermint oil and place it at the base of your pantry. Mice hate the strong smell of peppermint and will do anything to stay away from it. The side benefit? It makes for a pleasant-smelling pantry for you! You can also mix peppermint oil with distilled water to make a spray and mist the entire inside of the pantry for a totally natural barrier.