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The evaluation and control of biofilm of significance to the food industry
Project Code: B01016
Food Research and Consultancy Unit Cardiff School of Health Sciences UWIC
The potential for biofilm formation in the food industry is well recognised and there are concerns that biofilm may provide harbourage for food-poisoning bacteria. This study aimed to examine the prevalence of biofilm in high risk food processing environments and evaluate any pathogens associated with biofilm. The results demonstrated that there is a potential for biofilm formation in the food industry. Approximately 28% of food contact surfaces and 58% of environmental surfaces were deemed to have biofilm present with floors being the most likely surfaces to harbour bacteria. Very few food-poisoning bacteria were identified and these were in the main bacteria commonly associated with humans. No Salmonella, E. coli O157 or Campylobacter were isolated. The failure to identify food-poisoning bacteria suggests that biofilm is not a food safety risk but a food quality issue that the industry must attend to. The report recommends a definition that may help the industry appreciate the difficulties in controlling biofilm and suggests steps that the industry should take to improve cleaning performance.
Other research examining the persistence of bacteria on surfaces and the mechanisms for biocide resistance is also recommended.
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