Comparison of traditional and rapid methods for assessing the risk of bacterial cross-contamination from cutting boards
The cleaning and use of cutting boards in 34 busy hotel kitchens has been studied. Traditional swabbing was compared with rapid methods to detect protein and ATP on boards sampled both before and after cleaning (73 boards) and on those which were stored ready for use (66 boards). When the 212 test results were compared a positive correlation was found between the bacterial count and the protein test (r = 0.67) and the ATP test (r = 0.58), however, the interquartile ranges and overall ranges for plate counts at various levels of protein and ATP showed a large amount of variability such that the rapid techniques could not be relied upon to accurately predict the level of bacterial contamination. The condition of the boards, the way in which they were stored and the method of cleaning were all important in determining whether or not cleaning was successful. Where necessary, advice was given to the proprietors of the businesses to both improve cleaning and reduce the risk of cross-contamination associated with cutting boards.
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