Microbiological profile of different types of salads from hospital kitchens

ABSTRACT: The objective of this work was to verify the microbiological profile of different types of salads from hospital kitchens. During the period from 2010 to 2014, the Public Food Guidance Service (SOAP) received 641 samples of salads from two public hospitals in the Central West region of the São Paulo state, where they were submitted to microbiological analysis in order to determine the most probable number (MPN) of coliforms at 35 and 45ºC, carry out Salmonella spp. study and coagulase-positive staphylococci count. The results showed that in 30.56% of samples the coliform count at 35ºC was above 1,100 MPN/g and 12.17% of samples presented coliforms at 45ºC above 100 MPN/g, which is the maximum limit established by Brazilian law. The prevalence of contaminated samples among those without heat treatment was at 97.44%, and for samples with heat treatment the prevalence was at 2.56% for both cooked and braised foods. All samples were negative for Salmonella spp. presence and showed coagulase-positive staphylococci count at < 1.0 × 102 UFC/g. Although no pathogenic agents were found, the high count for indicator microorganisms in a large number of samples suggests that the practices of obtaining and manipulating these foods are inadequate, facilitating the risk of contamination with pathogens, including other agents not included in this research. Thus, food and nutrition units must pay attention to food preparation procedures, especially since these meals are served to indoor patients.