Evaluation of the HACCP system in a university canteen: microbiological monitoring and internal auditing as verification tools.

International journal of environmental research and public health

PubMedID: 23594937

Osimani A, Aquilanti L, Tavoletti S, Clementi F. Evaluation of the HACCP system in a university canteen: microbiological monitoring and internal auditing as verification tools. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2013;10(4):1572-85.
Food safety is essential in mass catering. In Europe, Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 requires food business operators to put in place, implement and maintain permanent procedures based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles. Each HACCP plan is specifically implemented for the processing plant and processing methods and requires a systematic collection of data on the incidence, elimination, prevention, and reduction of risks. In this five-year-study, the effectiveness of the HACCP plan of a University canteen was verified through periodic internal auditing and microbiological monitoring of meals, small equipment, cooking tools, working surfaces, as well as hands and white coats of the canteen staff. The data obtained revealed no safety risks for the consumers, since Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes were never detected; however, a quite discontinuous microbiological quality of meals was revealed. The fluctuations in the microbial loads of mesophilic aerobes, coliforms, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, and sulphite-reducing clostridia were mainly ascribed to inadequate handling or processing procedures, thus suggesting the need for an enhancement of staff training activities and for a reorganization of tasks. Due to the wide variety of the fields covered by internal auditing, the full conformance to all the requirements was never achieved, though high scores, determined by assigning one point to each answer which matched with the requirements, were achieved in all the years.