Food hygiene control in school canteens of La Spezia municipality: years 2003-2012
AbstractThe school canteens are public catering services of great interest as they provide meals to a high number of consumers who are particularly susceptible to health risks, therefore surveillance and health control are very important to ensure food safety. To this purpose, a convention between the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale of Piemonte Liguria e Valle d’Aosta, and La Spezia municipality was established for the health control of school canteens. In this article we report the results of analysis performed on food and swab surfaces samples collected during the period 2003-2012 in 22 school canteens and 3 cooking centers. From a total of 1187 samples: 313 raw foods were analyzed for chemical and microbiological parameters to verify compliance with legislation, 71 food preparations were analyzed for bacteria indicators to assess the good manufacturing practices, and 803 surface swabs were tested for total mesophilic count (TMC), Salmonella spp. and Listeria spp. to control cleaning/disinfection conditions. The results show that only 1.3% of raw food samples did not respect the limits imposed by legislation, and 1.4% of food preparations was positive for pathogens. In environmental swabs, pathogenic microorganisms were never isolated and TMC exceeded the limits of acceptability in no more than 27% of cases. The most contaminated surfaces were those in contact with food and the equipment difficult to clean. The results demonstrate that potential hazards are kept to acceptable levels in school canteens and cooking centers investigated. In fact, during the period considered no foodborne diseases were reported among users. However, data obtained may be useful to better define control measures to be adopted to improve the hygienic level production in these structures and to prevent foodborne infections.
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Copyright (c) 2013 Laura Serracca, Roberta Battistini, Irene Rossini, Marco Imberciadori, Cristina Sturlese, Elena Bozzetta, Carlo Ercolini
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