Evaluation of food handler practices and microbiological status of ready-to-eat foods in long-term care facilities in the Andalusia region of Spain.

TítuloEvaluation of food handler practices and microbiological status of ready-to-eat foods in long-term care facilities in the Andalusia region of Spain.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsRodríguez, M, Valero, A, Posada-Izquierdo, GD, Carrasco, E, Zurera, G
JournalJ Food Prot
Volume74
Issue9
Pagination1504-12
Date Published2011 Sep
ISSN1944-9097
Palabras claveAir Microbiology, Bacteria, Colony Count, Microbial, Consumer Product Safety, Environmental Microbiology, Food Contamination, Food Handling, Food Microbiology, Food Service, Hospital, Homes for the Aged, Humans, Spain
Abstract

Food safety measures in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) are being improved by the introduction of quality control management systems during food production and by the implementation of good manufacturing practices. This study was conducted in LTCFs (geriatric homes) in Andalusia, Spain, during 2008 and 2009 to evaluate sanitary conditions and the microbiological quality and safety of salads and cooked meat products served. A regulation-based checklist was applied to the evaluated centers. Samples of ready-to-eat foods (n = 60) were examined for mesophilic aerobic bacteria (MAB), total coliforms, coagulase-positive staphylococci (CPS), Escherichia coli, Listeria spp., and Salmonella. In parallel, food contact surfaces (working tables, cutting boards, sinks, and faucets) were swabbed and analyzed for MAB and Enterobacteriaceae. The air quality in processing rooms, near sinks, and in canteens also was measured through an active air sampling method for MAB and Staphyloccocus spp. The results obtained revealed some deficiencies regarding handling practices and sanitary conditions tested (i.e., use and change of gloves, hand washing, and cleanliness of work surfaces). The microbial safety of foods examined indicated the absence of pathogens. Average levels of coagulase-positive staphylococci were below 10² CFU/g, and prevalence of E. coli was 6.3% in samples collected. Surface counts were higher on cutting boards and faucets, indicating insufficient cleanliness procedures. This study provides a descriptive analysis of the sanitary conditions of food service systems in LTCF, and this information can help risk managers to better define control measures needed to prevent foodborne infections.

DOI10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-10-468
Alternate JournalJ. Food Prot.