Assessment Report of Bacterial Contamination in Some School Dining Services with Table Swabs and Air Samples

학교식당 및 교실배식 과정 전·후 미생물 오염에 관한 연구

  • Received : 2015.07.20
  • Accepted : 2015.10.22
  • Published : 2015.12.28


Objectives: The aim of this study is to investigate microbial contamination in the school food service environment for the assessment of microbial food safety. Methods: We collected both swab samples from tables and desks and airborne bacterial samples from an elementary school (School A) and a high school (School B). Heterotrophic plate count, total coliform, Staphylococcus aureus, and Bacillus cereus were measured with selective media to quantify microbial concentration. PCR assay targeting 16S rRNA genes was performed to identify the strains of S. aureus and B. cereus isolated. In addition, we made a food service checklist for the locations to evaluate the food service environment. A Wilcoxon test was employed to examine the differences in microbial concentration between before lunchtime and afterwards. Results: Heterotrophic plate counts showed higher levels after-lunch compared to before-lunch at School B. However, levels of S. aureus were higher in the after-lunch period (p<0.05) in both classrooms and in the cafeteria in School A. B. cereus was only sparsely detected in School B. Several samples from food dining carts were found to be contaminated with bacteria, and facilities associated with food delivery were found to be vulnerable to bacterial contamination. Although microbial concentrations in the air showed little difference between before- and after-lunchtime in the cafeteria in School A, those in classrooms were greater after-lunchtime at both schools. Conclusion: Our results suggested that the microbial safety in schools after lunchtime of concern. Necessary preventive measures such as hygiene education for students and food handlers should be required to minimize microbial contamination during food service processes in schools.


Food poisoning;microorganism;school meal system


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