Microbial contamination of food refrigeration equipment
Evans, JA, Russell, SL, James, C and Corry, JEL (2003). Microbial contamination of food refrigeration equipment. Journal of Food Engineering. 62 (3), pp. 225-232.
|Authors||Evans, JA, Russell, SL, James, C and Corry, JEL|
Refrigeration systems in chilled rooms in 15 plants processing a variety of foods were studied. These included plants processing raw meat and salads, Chinese ready meals, dairy products, slicing and packing of cooked meats and catering establishments. An initial survey of total numbers of microbes at a total of 891 sites on evaporators, drip trays and chilled room walls was followed up with a more detailed examination of 336 sites with high counts, selecting for Listeria spp., coliforms, enterococci, Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus. Temperatures (particularly air on and air off, maximum and near defrost heaters) relative humidity, airflow, layout and cleaning regimes were surveyed. In general, no correlation could be found between any of the physical measurements and the numbers and types of bacteria detected. Maximum mean temperatures in the chilled rooms varied from -1 to +16.9 °C and few chilled units were regularly cleaned. Twenty five percent of sites examined had more than 105 colony-forming units per cm2, although, very few pathogens or faecal indicator bacteria were detected. Listeria spp. were not found and coliforms were found only once, in low numbers. Low numbers of S. aureus or B. cereus were present in 9 of the 15 plants, B. cereus was found on evaporators and associated drip trays in two catering plants and two plants processing cooked meat. Enterococci and S. aureus were found most frequently in a raw red meat slaughterhouse (always in low numbers). In general, microbial contamination was lower in rooms where wrapped rather than unwrapped products were stored. The type of product also affected the degree of contamination, with raw red meat and poultry or dry ingredients giving highest counts, and raw vegetables and cooked products lowest. The work demonstrated that bacteria were present on evaporator cooling coils in all factory cold rooms visited. Although evaporator-cleaning procedures were carried out in some factories as part of routine maintenance these were not shown to be effective at maintaining low levels of bacteria on evaporators. To maintain evaporator hygiene it is suggested that more regular cleaning procedures, possibly by means of automated cleansing systems, should be considered. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
|Keywords||0908 Food Sciences; Food Science|
|Journal||Journal of Food Engineering|
|Journal citation||62 (3), pp. 225-232|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||doi:10.1016/S0260-8774(03)00235-8|
|07 Aug 2003|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||15 May 2017|
|Accepted||23 Jun 2003|
|Accepted author manuscript|
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
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