Elaboration of Microbiological Guidelines as an Element of Codes of Hygienic Practices for Small and/or Less Developed Businesses To Verify Compliance with Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point

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Effective assurance of microbiological food safety practices in small and/or less developed businesses is not yet resolved. Although a start has been made by drafting hygiene codes, feasible methods for verifying manufacturing processes that rely on strict and meaningful criteria to be applied to process points are still lacking. This investigation is a model study with various types of ready-to-eat foods aimed at verifying adequate processing for safety and subsequent meticulous hygienic handling and safe storage of foods in small and/or less developed businesses by the use of quantitative methods for selected indicator organisms, as standardized by the International Organization for Standardization. The manufacture of the foods that were used in this study invariably included (i) a heat processing step that ensured a level of lethality of nonsporing organisms at least equivalent to the reduction of such organisms attained in the pasteurization of milk and (ii) effective means of prevention of postprocess recontamination and recolorization. The results of this study indicate that simple microbiological criteria used for this purpose, including aerobic mesophilic colony (standard plate) counts, Enterobacteriaceae counts, and, in some instances, enumeration of yeast propagules, allow adequate verification of good practices throughout. This verification through monitoring of samples taken during processing in small and/or less developed businesses was found to be an attractive alternative to the conventional examination of end products.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Inspection for Health Protection and Veterinary Public Health, Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, P. O. Box 19506, 2500 CM, The Hague, The Netherlands 2: Eijkman Foundation for Postgraduate Education and Research in Public Health Microbiology of Foods at Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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