Microbiological Quality of Open Ready-to-Eat Salad Vegetables: Effectiveness of Food Hygiene Training of Management
Abstract:During September and October 2001, a microbiological study of open, ready-to-eat, prepared salad vegetables from catering or retail premises was undertaken to determine their microbiological quality. The study focused on those salad vegetables that were unwrapped and handled either by staff or customers in the premises where the sample was taken. Examination of salad vegetables from food service areas and customer self-service bars revealed that most (97%; 2,862 of 2,950) were of satisfactory or acceptable microbiological quality, 3% (87) were of unsatisfactory microbiological quality because of Escherichia coli levels in the range of 102 to 105 colony-forming units per gram. One (<1%) sample was of unacceptable microbiological quality because of the presence of Listeria monocytogenes at 840 colony-forming units per gram. The pathogens E. coli O157, Campylobacter spp., and salmonellas were not detected in any of the samples examined. The display area for most food service and preparation areas (95%) and self-service salad bars (98%) that were visited was judged to be visibly clean by the sampling officer. Most self-service bars (87%) were regularly supervised or inspected by staff during opening hours, and designated serving utensils were used in most salad bars (92%) but in only a minority of food service areas (35%). A hazard analysis system was in place in most (80%) premises, and in 61%, it was documented. Most (90%) managers had received food hygiene training. A direct relationship was shown between increased confidence in the food business management and the presence of food safety procedures and the training of management in food hygiene.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Environmental Surveillance Unit, Health Protection Agency, Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, 61 Colindale Avenue, London NW9 5EQ, UK
Publication date: September 1, 2003
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