Environmental hygiene monitoring in the food processing environment has become of much importance in current food safety programmes to ensure safe food production. However, conventional monitoring of surface hygiene based on visual inspection and microbial counts is slow and tedious and thus, is not able to support the current risk-based management system. Therefore, this study was conducted to assess the performance of a real-time total adenylate assay that detects ATP+ADP+AMP (A3) for food contact surface hygiene in in thirteen food processing plants and two commercial kitchens in Malaysia. The A3 value was compared to the microbial count (aerobic plate count (APC)) on food contact surfaces. Receiver-Operating Characteristic (ROC) analysis was performed to assess the reliability of the data and to determine the optimal threshold value for hygiene indication of food contact surfaces. Overall, the A3 value demonstrated a weak positive relationship with APC. However, the A3 value significantly correlated with APC for food processing environments associated with raw meat and raw food ingredients such as fruit that harbour high microbial load. ROC analysis suggested an optimal threshold for the A3 value at 500RLU to balance the sensitivity and specificity at 0.728 and 0.719, respectively. The A3 assay as a hygiene indicator for food contact surfaces had an efficiency of 72.1%, indicating its reliability as a hygiene indicator in general.

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