To determine adherence to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) methods and to evaluate knowledge, attitudes, and practices of food-services staff with regard to food hygiene in hospitals.
Hospital medical directors and food-services staff of 36 hospitals in Calabria, Italy.
A questionnaire about hospital characteristics, food-services organization, and measures and procedures for the control and prevention of foodborne diseases was sent to medical directors; a questionnaire about demographic and practice characteristics, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors about control and prevention of foodborne diseases was sent to food-services staff. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed.
Only 54% of the 27 responding hospitals were using the HACCP system and, of those using HACCP, 79% adopted a food-hygiene–practice manual; more than one half already had developed written procedures for food storage, personal hygiene, cleaning and disinfection; one half or less performed microbiological assessment of foods and surfaces. Of the 290 food-services staff who responded, 78.8% were aware of the five leading food-borne pathogens; this knowledge was significantly higher among those with a higher educational level and those who worked in hospitals that had implemented the HACCP system. Younger staff and those who had attended continuing educational courses about food hygiene and hospital foodborne diseases had a significantly higher knowledge of safe temperatures for food storage. A positive attitude toward foodborne-diseases prevention was reported by the great majority, and it was significantly higher in older respondents and in those working in hospitals with a lower number of beds. Only 54.9% of those involved in touching or serving unwrapped raw or cooked foods routinely used gloves during this activity; this practice was significantly greater among younger respondents and in those working in hospitals using HACCP.
Full implementation of the HACCP system and infection control policies in hospital food services is needed.
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