Microbial Quality Assessment Of Foods Served To Students In Select High School Canteens In Eastern Visayas, Philippines

Pet Anthony L. Pascual


Numerous foodborne disease outbreaks are reported to occur in schools. In the present study, the microbialquality of foods including drinking water being served to students in select school canteens in Eastern Visayas, Philippines was investigated. An incidence of high aerobic plate count (APC) (78 %) in fully-cooked foods was seen for school canteens classified as “poor” with minimum and maximum values of 2.32 and 8.04log10coliform forming unit (CFU) g-1 while this was only 22 and 11 % for school canteens classified as “medium” and “good”, respectively. Incidence of high APC was also noted for fully-cooked food requiring further handling prior to consumption (66 %) and in sweet desserts (67 %) in school canteen classified as “poor”. The levels of Escherichia coliin most food samples belonging to different food groups were in conformity with the permissible limits of the Health Protection Agency (< 10 CFU g-1). Strikingly, incidence of high heterotrophic plate count (HPC)in drinking water was noted in all school canteens irrespective of its classification (> 500 CFU g-1). Levels of APC isolated from food handlers and contact surfaces exceeded the permissible limit of ≤1.65log10 CFU/g. Overall, the findings from this study indicate the importance of providing support and input for public health program including trainings on good manufacturing practices (GMPs) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles among food handlers in the region in order to improve the quality of food delivered in school canteens and to promote the significance of good hygiene practices.

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