Practical 1 - Swabbing and Personal Hygiene

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Foundation Microbiology and Food Safety Management

Practical 1 - Swabbing and Personal Hygiene


The aim of this practical was to find out problems and issues concerned with swabbing and personal hygiene in order to see how food safety is affected by these.

The practical looked at using methods such as aseptic technique combined with the use of different agars in order to help aid the sustainable growth of microorganisms.


Why are you doing this? What is the impact on food quality and safety of poor personal hygiene? Why were different types of agar used? What does the Gram stain show us?


Microorganisms are everywhere and some species are a concern to the food industry as they may be responsible for both food spoilage and food poisoning. One of the main ways they are transmitted to the food is by cross contamination. Cross contamination is defined as “the physical movement or transfer of harmful bacteria from one person, object or place to another” ( Cross contamination is a key factor in food poisoning and it has four common sources:- food, people, equipment and work surfaces. Ways that this may occur is through poor personal hygiene practices of the staff and from unclean surfaces and equipment. (Sprenger 2002).

The hands of health care and food service workers are regularly soiled throughout their daily activities with a high numbers of microorganisms, including those of a pathogenic nature (Cogan et al. 1999; Chen et al. 2001). It is, therefore, essential that hands are frequently cleansed to avoid acting as a vector for bacteria and causing cross contaminating between people, surfaces, utensils and the foodstuffs. There are also a host of microorganisms that are carried in and on the human body that may give rise to problems. 32% of people carry the organism Staphylococcus aureus, a pathogen, which may cause harm if...
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