Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Hygiene Training of Food Handlers in Hospital Settings: Important Factor in the Prevention of Nosocomial Infections

Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Hygiene Training of Food Handlers in Hospital Settings: Important Factor in the Prevention of Nosocomial Infections

Article excerpt

SUMMARY

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of food hygiene training of food handlers on sanitary-hygienic conditions in hospital kitchens, based on microbiological analysis of smears taken in hospital kitchens.

The study was conducted in the 1995-2009 period at the Clinical Centre Nis, Serbia. The food hygiene training was conducted in February 2005, by an infection control officer.

1,076 smears in the central kitchen and 4,025 smears in distributive kitchens were taken from hands and work clothes, work surfaces, equipment, and kitchen utensils. Microbiological analysis of smears was carried out in an accredited laboratory of the Public Health Institute Nis (Serbia). A significantly lower percentage of smears with isolates of bacteria (p<0.001) taken from hands and work clothes, work surfaces, equipment and kitchen utensils in the central and distributive kitchens was observed in the period following the food safety education programme (2005-2009). The most commonly isolated bacteria was: Enterobacter spp., Acinetobacter spp., Citrobacter spp., and E. coli. Our results confirmed that food hygiene training improved hygiene and is also an important component for the prevention of nosocomial infection.

Key words: hygiene training, hospital, kitchen, smears

INTRODUCTION

Nosocomial infections are a common problem that increases the length of hospital stay, hospital cost and often affects patients' quality of life, survival and response to treatment (1,2).

To prevent nosocomial infection, the maintenance of a high degree of hygiene in hospital settings is necessary. Poor hygiene in the system of preparation and distribution of food, poor personal hygiene of food handlers as well as food safety pose significant risk of the development of food borne infections in hospital settings (3,4).

Data from the literature indicated that poor hygiene practice in hospital kitchens may be the cause of outbreaks of infections in hospitals, some of them resulting in death of patients (5-8). Almost all of cases (88%) and deaths in outbreaks of listeriosis in Canada were people from the hospital or older people who were living in a long- term care home, because deli meats contaminated with listeria was distributed to hospitals. Listeria was found in niches deep inside two slicing machines (9). The most common reasons of food borne infection in hospitals are: improper holding time or temperature, contaminated equipment, poor personal hygiene, and food from unsafe sources (4).

The Clinical Centre Nis is the second largest hospital in Serbia, with 1,553 beds and 28 departments with a catchment area with around 2 million residents.

The purpose of this paper is to analyze sanitary-hygienic conditions in the Clinical Centre Nis based on the retrospective analysis of microbiological smears taken in hospital kitchens, before and after food safety education of their staff.

MATERIALSAND METHODS

In the period between 1995 and 2009, sanitary-hygienic situation in kitchens of the Clinical Centre Nis was controlled by the bacteriological analysis of smears. Microbiological status of the smears has been analyzed concerning the causes of positive smears and the location of bacteria.

In our hospital, meals are prepared daily and cooked in the central hospital kitchen and distributed to the distributive kitchens in the Clinics.

In the period from 1995-2004 (before the food safety education programme), the smears were taken every fourth month from the central kitchen and every sixth month from distributive kitchens. After the implementation of the food safety programme started in February 2005 in the Clinical Centre Nis, the smears started to be taken more frequently - every month from the central kitchen, and every third month from distributive kitchens.

During both periods of investigation, smears in kitchens were taken from hands and work clothes, work surfaces, equipment, and kitchen utensils. …

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