Microbiological Contamination in Restaurants and Food Hygiene Practices among Migrant Food Handlers in Samut Sakhon Province, Thailand

Wandee Sirichokchatchawan, Ratana Somrongthong

Biblographic citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 101-110, Mar 2020

Volume 40, Issue 2: Pages 101–110

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Food hygiene and sanitary conditions are important public health concerns, especially in countries such as Thailand, where food businesses have been growing rapidly. The growth of the restaurant industry has led to increased hiring of migrant food handlers. Microbiological contamination of ice and non-food items, along with inappropriate food hygiene practices, are among the main factors leading to foodborne illnesses and outbreaks. The objectives of this study were to screen qualitatively for coliform bacterial contamination and determine food hygiene practices among migrant food handlers in restaurants. A cross-sectional study was conducted in the Samut Sakhon province, Thailand, which is one of the provinces with the highest number of migrants. A random walk sampling was used to select restaurants. Of 256 ice and tableware samples from 32 restaurants, tabletops (69%) and ice (58%) had the highest percentages of positive coliform contamination. Most migrant food handlers had fair levels of food hygiene practices. Increasing age, less work experience and never having received food safety training were related to greater coliform contamination of tabletops and ice samples, although no statistically significant differences were found. Further studies should be conducted with larger samples, including samples drawn from populations of non-migrant food handlers.

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