Effective assurance of microbiological food safety practices in small and/or less developed businesses is not yet resolved. Although a start has been made by drafting hygiene codes, feasible methods for verifying manufacturing processes that rely on strict and meaningful criteria to be applied to process points are still lacking. This investigation is a model study with various types of ready-to-eat foods aimed at verifying adequate processing for safety and subsequent meticulous hygienic handling and safe storage of foods in small and/or less developed businesses by the use of quantitative methods for selected indicator organisms, as standardized by the International Organization for Standardization. The manufacture of the foods that were used in this study invariably included (i) a heat processing step that ensured a level of lethality of nonsporing organisms at least equivalent to the reduction of such organisms attained in the pasteurization of milk and (ii) effective means of prevention of postprocess recontamination and recolorization. The results of this study indicate that simple microbiological criteria used for this purpose, including aerobic mesophilic colony (standard plate) counts, Enterobacteriaceae counts, and, in some instances, enumeration of yeast propagules, allow adequate verification of good practices throughout. This verification through monitoring of samples taken during processing in small and/or less developed businesses was found to be an attractive alternative to the conventional examination of end products.

This content is only available as a PDF.