An improvement of food service centers in recent years has been made based on the implementation of the principles of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system. Food safety preventive measures have been focused on training of handlers in hygiene practices and on improving the sanitary quality of meals. In Europe, an increasing trend in foodborne outbreaks has been attributed to catering businesses. This fact highlights that the impact of preventive measures in the past few years has not been sufficiently effective as expected. Special attention should be paid to food services destined to susceptible population, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, or school canteens, because people could be more susceptible to become ill when exposed to foodborne agents. There are numerous relevant factors influencing microbial contamination of foods, according to the preparation method, hygienic sanitary conditions of catering facilities, or food handling, storage, and distribution. In the present chapter, a review of the most significant risk factors influencing microbial contamination of foods in food service centers are described with special focus on those establishments where susceptible population (i.e., children, elderly, immunocompromised people) is present. Besides, potential preventive measures to be considered in that establishments and correct implementation of food safety actions are given to provide useful recommendations to food handlers, food operators, and risk managers.
Part of the book: Significance, Prevention and Control of Food Related Diseases