This paper examined the relationships among hygiene indicators in take-away foodservice establishments and the impact of climatic conditions.Methods and Results:
A total of 7545 samples were collected encompassing 2050 from food handlers' (HF) hands, 3991 from stainless steel food contact surfaces (FCS) and 1504 samples from plastic FCS. The study covered a period of 43 months. Hygiene-indicator bacteria (total plate count, Enterobacteriaceae Staphylococcus) were determined from the samples collected from 559 different take-away establishments. Climatic conditions were evaluated in respect to the outside temperature, pressure, humidity and precipitation. Logistic regression confirmed that the presence of precipitation was associated with an increased likelihood of exhibiting both Enterobacteriaceae and Staphylococcus on HF' hands as well as exhibiting Enterobacteriaceae on both types of FCS. Numerable Enterobacteriaceae and Staphylococcus levels on HF' hands were detected when higher outside temperatures and higher precipitations occurred. Higher outside temperatures were observed when Enterobacteriaceae were detected on both plastics (P < 0·05) and stainless steel (P > 0·05). Higher precipitation was observed when Enterobacteriaceae was detected on stainless steel while in contrast, this indicator was detected on plastics in periods with lower precipitation.Conclusions:
This research confirms relationships between hygiene indicators in take-aways and climatic conditions, mostly temperature and precipitation.Significance and Impact of the Study:
This study provides another perspective into the possible nature of cross-contamination and foodborne outbreaks originating in foodservice establishments and brings to attention the necessity of analysing various climatic conditions.