A total of 42 raw hamburger patties and 143 samples of chopped vegetables were collected for analysis, with an additional 14 resamples due to poor results. The samples were examined for spoilage bacteria and disease-causing bacteria. In addition, 282 samples were taken from the kitchen surfaces for microbiological studies to evaluate the cleanliness of the kitchen furniture and fixtures, and 14 repeat samples were taken for the same reason.
Most vegetables arrive at restaurants already chopped, and their quality is mainly affected by the storage temperature and shelf life. According to the results, the storage temperatures for the vegetables are suitable and the vegetables are used immediately after opening the package. Of the samples of chopped vegetables, 67% were microbiologically of good quality, 29% were acceptable and 4% were bad. Sensory evaluations of plant samples revealed no problems, and no disease-causing bacteria were detected.
69% of hamburger patties were microbiologically of good quality, 24% were acceptable and 7% were bad. Disease-causing Salmonella bacteria were detected in two samples and STEC bacteria (Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli) were found in 11 samples. All salmonella and STEC findings were traced to steaks of foreign origin.
Salmonella and STEC bacteria originate from the intestines of animals and usually contaminate meat during slaughter. Both salmonella and STEC bacteria are destroyed when steaks are thoroughly cooked. These bacteria can cause food poisoning in humans, with symptoms ranging from mild diarrhea to serious conditions such as bloody diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which in severe cases can lead to kidney failure. There are more than 2,000 types of Salmonella, and all of them can potentially cause disease in humans. The most common symptoms of intestinal salmonella infection are diarrhea and fever.
The study also showed that the cleanliness of equipment and furniture in fast food restaurants was generally at a high level. Only four percent of the samples showed poor surface cleanliness.
The hygiene of fast food restaurants is checked regularly during routine visits. The results of the inspection are publicly available at www.oivahymy.fi website.
This collaborative study highlights the commitment of the City of Helsinki’s environmental services and its partner municipalities to ensuring the safety and quality of food served in fast food places, which gives consumers confidence in the hygiene and microbiological levels in these popular places to eat.
Source: The Nordic Page