J Korean Diet Assoc.  2022 Aug;28(3):205-217. 10.14373/JKDA.2022.28.3.205.

Microbiological Contamination Assessment of School Cafeterias in the Gyeongnam Area: Investigation of the Status of Hygiene Management since COVID-19

Affiliations
  • 1Major in Nutrition Education, Graduate School of Education, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju 52828, Korea
  • 2Dept. of Food Nutrition Science, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju 52828, Korea
  • 3Dept. of Food Science and Technology, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 34134, Korea

Abstract

School meals are prepared based using the HACCP system, which is designed to ensure the physical and mental health of students. However, operational recommendations in school cafeterias have changed due to COVID-19 and include delays in serving time to restrict the number of meals and the installation of screens to prevent droplet transmission. Unfortunately, these changes may have detrimentally affected hygiene practices and generated new food poisoning sources. This study aimed to determine the hygiene state of school cafeterias in the Gyeongnam area from December 2020 to September 2021 based on the monitoring of total aerobic and coliform bacteria. Kitchen floors were the most contaminated areas with an average number of total aerobic bacteria of 4.3 log CFU/100 cm 2 , whereas counts in dining areas were relatively low at 0.1∼3.5 log CFU/100 cm 2 . Newly installed partitioned areas had the lowest contamination level of 0.1∼2.8 log CFU/100 cm 2 . Escherichia coli was not detected on any surface, while coliform was detected on workbenches and floors. In conclusion, hygienic practices appear to have been adequately managed in school cafeterias despite COVID-19 driven changes. Nonetheless, continuous monitoring is recommended to ensure prompt response to changing environments.

Keyword

school cafeteria; food-contact surfaces; total aerobic bacteria; coliform; COVID-19
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