RESEARCH PAPER
National monitoring study on microbial contamination of food-contact surfaces in hospital kitchens in Poland
 
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1
Department of Food and Food Supplements, National Food and Nutrition Institute, Warsaw, Poland
2
Department of Food and Consumer Articles Research, National Institute of Public Heath – National Institute of Hygiene, Warsaw, Poland
3
Department of Dietetic and Nutrition in Hospitals with Clinic of Metabolic Diseases and Gastroenterology, National Food and Nutrition Institute, Warsaw, Poland
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Eliza Konecka-Matyjek   

Department of Food and Food Supplements, National Food and Nutrition Institute, Warsaw, Poland
 
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2012;19(3):457–463
KEYWORDS
ABSTRACT
Introduction and objective:
The risk of food-borne infections in hospitalized patients with compromised immune systems is much higher and can also lead to more serious health consequences than among other population groups. Therefore, food hygiene within the hospital setting, should be handled in an appropriate manner. In 2008, there were 732 hospitals in Poland. It was estimated that 7.2 million hospitalized patients, with an average hospital stay of 5.9 days, benefited from hospital meals. On average, nearly half of the hospitals (ranging from 30%-50%, depending on the province) outsourced the preparation and delivery of meals to external service providers. The objective of this study was to survey the bacteriological contamination of selected food production and processing areas in hospital kitchens in Poland.

Material and Methods:
The nationwide microbiological examination of food contact surfaces was performed in 10% of randomly selected hospital kitchens in all 16 provinces in Poland. A total of 3,277 samples were scientifically examined for hygiene indicator micro-organisms; namely, for Total Viable Count (TVC), Enterobacteriaceae count and coliforms, as well as for the presence of coagulase-positive staphylococci. The environmental samples were collected and examined according to European and Polish standards. All analyses were performed using Statistica version 6 software.

Results:
The results revealed that food hygiene within the test sample was poor. Of the total samples taken for testing, 25.5% failed. The most common failures were related to excess TVC in swabs.

Conclusions:
Testing shows that there is a need to improve the standard of hygiene in food handling areas of Polish hospitals.

 
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