Prevention of travel-related foodborne diseases: Microbiological risk assessment of food handlers and ready-to-eat foods in northern Italy airport restaurants
Posted: July 5th, 2012 - 1:27pm
Source: Food Control, Volume 29, Issue 1, January 2013, Pages 202–207
The focus of this study was to assess the hygienic standards of 44 foodservice facilities located in three Italian International Airports (with an output ranging from 100 to 800 meals a day), by monitoring the microbiological quality and safety of foods ready for consumption (n = 773), food contact surfaces (n = 302), and food handlers (n = 287). The hygienic standard of surfaces was sufficiently high. Only 7.9% of surfaces did not conform with advisory standards in terms of total coliforms, and 2.6% were found to be contaminated with Enterococcus spp. at ≥1.0 log10 CFU/cm2. The hygienic standard of washed and disinfected hands of food workers was not adequately high: the total bacterial count and coagulase positive Staphylococciexceeded the satisfactory limit in 8.4% and 3.5% of cases, respectively. The microbial analysis of foods examined showed an absence of Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella spp. Food sample analyses highlighted a percentage of samples that did not conform to microbial reference standards: Staphylococcus aureus non-conforming percentages ranged from 2.3% for “fully cooked food” to 9.2% for “raw fruit and vegetables”; Escherichia coli, from 0.0% for “raw fruit and vegetables” to 6.1% for “cooked and uncooked foods”; total coliforms from 14.3% for “fully cooked food” to 79.8% for “cooked and uncooked food”. In conclusion, the results suggest that more effort is needed in the application of HACCP principles. In order to prevent travel-related foodborne infections, various changes in the timing of food preparation and holding temperatures are needed, together with further training of food handlers.
► We evaluated the hygienic quality of 44 foodservice facilities in 3 Italian airports. ► We monitored microbiologically foods, food contact surfaces and food handlers. ► Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonellaspp. were absent in all the samples analyzed. ► The hygienic microbial markers did not reveal a high level of microbiological quality. ► Changes in the timing of food preparation and holding temperatures are needed.