Hospital food safety measures reduce risk of contaminated hospital food

A new study found more than 80 percent of raw chicken used in hospitals in food for patients and staff was contaminated with a form of antibiotic resistant bacteria called extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) producing E. coli. While sufficient preparation eliminated the presence of bacteria, poultry meat delivered to hospital kitchens remains a potential point of entry for these dangerous bacteria into the hospital. The study was published in the April issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

"While a high proportion of chicken contaminated by antibiotic resistant E.coli is a significant concern, robust food safety measures taken by hospital kitchen staff are able to prevent the spread of these pathogens and minimize risk to food handlers, staff and patients," said Andrew Stewardson, MD, the lead author of the study.

Researchers from the University Hospital of Geneva in Switzerland collaborated with the Food Control Authority of Geneva to test delivered to the central hospital kitchen that prepares more than 8,000 meals daily. They compared the hospital samples to food in local supermarkets for the presence of ESBLs finding that most (86%) chicken meat samples were positive. E. coli is a normal part of healthy human gut flora but can also cause urinary tract infections and occasionally more serious invasive infections.

The researchers also looked at how food, as a potential source of multi-, impacts the health of food handlers, healthcare workers and patients. They found six of 93 food handlers were ESBL carriers, but overall were no more likely to be colonized by ESBL-producing than the Swiss population.

The authors concluded that industrial risk management strategies in the hospital kitchen appear sufficient to minimize risk to food handlers, hospital staff and patients. However they caution that this conclusion may not apply to household kitchens, where food safety precautions are less rigidly applied.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study spotlights ESBL bacteria in Danish chicken meat

Sep 25, 2012

Over 50 % of the chicken meat that Denmark imports contains extended spectrum beta lactamase (ESBL), enzymes produced by some bacteria that make them resistant to certain antibiotics that are important in ...

Urinary tract infections linked to contaminated chicken

Feb 20, 2012

Urinary tract infections are common conditions that occur when bacteria from the intestines enter the urinary tract. New research, however, suggests that the bacteria causing these infections may come from contaminated food ...

Recommended for you

Recorded Ebola deaths top 7,000

20 hours ago

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has now killed more than 7,000 people, with many of the latest deaths reported in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization said as United Nations Secretary-General Ban ...

Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears (Update)

Dec 20, 2014

Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate election that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

Dec 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

Dec 19, 2014

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

Dec 19, 2014

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.