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Theory and Practice in Medicine, 2009, Vol. 15, No. 4


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DYNAMICS OF FOODBORNE DISEASES IN LATVIA AND MICROBIOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS OF READY-TO-EAT FOODS FROM CATERING ESTABLISHMENTS

Tatjana Marcenkova, Martins Rucins


Correspondence Address: tatjana.marcenkova@pvd.gov.lv

Key words: foodborne diseases (FBD), ready – to – eat foods (RTE), food safety, microbiological investigations, food hygiene requirements.
Objective. Clarify the microbiological quality of RTE foods from catering establishments.
Methods. 276 food samples from traditional and non-traditional (Oriental) public catering establishments in capital of Latvia, Riga were sampled for the microbiological testing on aerobic colony count (ACC) and total coliforms (TC). Analysis of hygienic situation in the public catering establishments was evaluated. The reasons of the growth of the microorganisms in RTE samples were analyzed in dependence on food category, food temperature; their processing mode and composition were analyzed.
Results.  In RTE  samples different  indicator microorganisms  including  Staphylococcus, Enterobacter, Escherichia, Klebsiella, Citrobacter, yeasts, moulds, etc. were identified. The highest count of microorganisms was detected in samples whose components did not undergo heat treatment (3rd category meals) – ACC varied from 104 up to 107 cfu g-1 in 61.1 % samples; TC in this category meals was detected in level from 102 up to ≥ 10 4 cfu g-1. That demonstrates the epidemiological significance of these category meals, as probable source of foodborne pathogens or potentially hazardous spoilage microorganisms.
Conclusion. In the 3rd category meals (n=25) Enterobacter spp. (36 %), Klebsiella spp. (28 %), Pantoea spp. (24 %) and Bacillus spp. (16 %) more often were  identified. The high  levels of potentially hazardous microorganisms  in RTE samples showed really possibility for consumers to become ill via meals from unhygienic catering premises. The appropriate infringements of hygienic requirements in catering establishments had substantial impact on microbial quality of RTE.

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