Study of cleaning standards and practices in food premises in the United Kingdom
Griffith, Chris J.
Little, C. L.
Mitchell, R. T.
Sagoo, S. K.
Health Protection Agency
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A study was undertaken to determine the microbiological status of surfaces used in the preparation of ready-to-eat foods, and to assess cleaning standards and practices in food premises in the UK. A total of 6,533 environmental samples were examined from 1,502 catering (such as restaurants, cafés, and sandwich bars) or retail premises (such as butchers, delicatessens, and bakers): 2,033 samples from chopping/cutting boards, 2,009 from worktop surfaces, 1,359 from food containers, and 1,132 from cleaning cloths. Cleaning cloths were more heavily contaminated with bacteria (Aerobic Colony Count (ACC), Enterobacteriaceae, E. coli, and Staph. aureus) compared to surfaces sampled. Campylobacter spp. were detected in two (0.2%) and Salmonella spp. from one (0.1%) of the cleaning cloths. Surfaces that were visually dirty, wet, last cleaned over 24 hours ago, and boards that were scored or damaged were found to have higher levels of bacteria. A hazard analysis system was in place in most (70%) food premises visited, and in 52% it was documented. Most managers (89%) had received some form of food hygiene training. Documented cleaning schedules and cleaning records were only present in approximately half (55% and 44%, respectively) of the premises. Most did not have separate implements for cleaning raw and ready-to-eat food areas (67%), or stored cleaning equipment for high risk (ready-to-eat food) areas away from those used in low risk (raw, non ready-to-eat food) areas (70%). Deficiencies in the correct use of cleaning products, such as the minimum contact time for disinfectants, were identified. Surface samples (chopping/cutting boards, worktops, and food containers) and cleaning cloths with ACC levels in excess of 10(3) cfu/cm2, swab or ml were associated with premises that did not have management food hygiene training, hazard analysis, cleaning schedules or cleaning records in place, and with little or no confidence in the food business management of food hygiene as indicated by Local Authority Inspectors' Confidence in Management scores.
Communicable Disease and Public Health
Communicable Disease and Public Health, 6 (1), pp.6-17
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