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Evaluation of the effects of food safety training on the microbiological load present in equipment’s, surfaces, utensils, and food manipulator`s hands in restaurants
* 1 , 1 , 2, 3, 4 , 1, 5, 6
1  Department of Veterinary Science, School of Agrarian and Veterinary Science (ECAV), University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD)
2  Department of Agronomy, ECAV, UTAD
3  Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences, CITAB
4  Inov4Agro Associated Laboratory
5  Veterinary and Animal Research Center (CECAV) UTAD
6  Al4AnimalS Associated Laboratory for Animal and Veterinary Science
Academic Editor: Nico Jehmlich

Published: 30 November 2023 by MDPI in The 2nd International Electronic Conference on Microbiology session Poster Session

Restaurants are a place were a lot of people go to have a delicious meal and have a good time however it’s in the hands of the restaurant staff to proportionate that good environment and ensure the tasty meals are microbiologically safe. Food training comes a long way in this regard to help give that quality to the consumer but there is a lot of restaurants that the workers don’t have the proper training for handling food or to keep the establishment food safe. This study was aimed to proportionate the knowledge of food safety and to help the workers follow the right path. It was evaluated if the training given to the food manipulators was helpful and had a significant impact in reducing the load of microbiological contamination present during the work.

For the present work were carried out four moments of analyses at four restaurants, two moments analyses were done before food safety training and the other two were done after food safety training. In each visit, thirty-two swabs were performed from the equipment’s, surfaces, and utensils all together and eight swabs were performed of four manipulators (right and left hand). Also, we evaluated the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in drains using absorbent sponges. This study analysed mesophilic microorganisms in Plate Count Agar® (PCA), Enterobacteriaceae in Violet Red Bile Glucose Agar® (VRBG), Escherichia coli in Tryptone Bile X-Glucuronide Agar® (TBX), Staphylococcus aureus in Baird Park Agar® (BP) and Listeria monocytogenes in Chromagar Listeria and enrichment medium Fraser I and Fraser II. The results were analysed based on the microbial criteria of Pablo., B. Moragas, M. (2013) K. Soares et al. (2019) and Labović et al. (2023)

It was evaluated global hygienic conditions among the four restaurants. Of the 208 swabs performed, before food safety training, to equipment’s, surfaces, and utensils, 15% of the results for Enterobacteriaceae and 26% of the results for mesophilic microorganisms weren’t compliant with the hygienic safety limits and for the 64 swabs done to the hands of the food manipulators 31% of the Enterobacteriaceae and 64% of the mesophilic values were well above the safe limits. In this study we also searched for the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the drains of 4 restaurants turning out 25% of the analysis to be positive. After the training the presence of Listeria monocytogenes on the drains was absent. Using Statistica software we determined the existence of significative positive differences when comparing the analysis before training and after training with p-values below 0.05. On average across the 4 restaurants there was a reduction of more than 90% of the load of microorganisms like Enterobacteriaceae and Mesophilic microorganisms on the surfaces referred above and on the manipulator’s hands.

With these results we can conclude that food safety training is vital in the food industry, mainly, in catering units. There is always something new that the food handlers can learn, and it can have a huge impact in serving meals with a better quality and safety.

Acknowledgments: This work was supported by National Funds from FCT - Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, under the projects UIDB/CVT/00772/202, and LA/P/0059/2020 and UIDB/04033/2020.

Keywords: Microbiological analysis; hygiene; food safety; training.
Comments on this paper
Maricarmen Salas López
Very interesting work, what would you say is the most important food safety measure? What is the main factor that diminishes bacteria presence?
Miguel Castro
In my case the most important food measure was to teach the food workers to not let their surfaces, cutting boards or utensils dirty after their utilisation because what they would do is for example cut raw meat and then leave their knives and cutting boards contaminated through out their work and then when they needed to cut another piece of raw meat they would use the same utensils. So teaching them that they cant leave their utensils contaminated for long periods of time and telling them to wash it properly with adequate chemical products and not just with water made a huge impact in microbiological count.

I hope i was clear and helped you and sorry for the long text.