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A study was conducted to evaluate the microbiological quality, including total mesophilic counts and markers of bacteriological hygiene, as indicator of food safety of three categories of the most consumed meals in the public catering. Cold gastronomy products, cooked warm-served products, and cooked cold-served products were tested for bacterial contamination. Throughout the experiment, 2142 samples and 2680 surfaces were examined for total counts of aerobic bacteria, counts of indicator organisms (coliform organisms and Escherichia coli) and pathogens (Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella spp., and Listeria monocytogenes). Implementation of the HACCP system, together with training in personnel hygiene, good manufacturing practices, and cleaning and sanitation procedures, could result in lower aerobic plate counts and a lower incidence of S. aureus, coliform organisms, E. coli, Salmonella spp. and L. monocytogenes were not found in all samples studied. The microbial results of this study demonstrate that personnel training together with HACCP application might contribute to improve the food safety of meals.
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