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Microbial retention on open food contact surfaces and implications for food contamination

Verran, Joanna, Airey, Paul, Packer, Adele and Whitehead, Kathryn A. (2008) Microbial retention on open food contact surfaces and implications for food contamination. In: Advances in Applied Microbiology. Academic Press, pp. 223-246. ISBN 9780123743381

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Abstract

In the food industry, food contact surfaces are generally described as being “open” or “closed”. Closed surfaces are primarily pipework, where wet product or ingredients are contained within a flowing, liquid system. Open surfaces are exposed, with moist or dry food passing along conveyors; thus liquid does not necessarily enclose the food, or cover the surface, and consequently flow is absent. Closed systems present any contaminating microorganisms with a solid–liquid interface for attachment and colonization. Access to these surfaces for cleaning is difficult, thus the opportunity exists for the development of biofilm. Open surfaces present a solid–air–, or a solid–liquid–air interface, where microorganisms attached on the surface may encounter an environment less conducive to growth, encompassing opportunity for dehydration during drying, lack of moisture, and exposure to regular cleaning and disinfection. Thus for hygienic, open, food contact surfaces, the retention and survival of viable microorganisms pre- and postcleaning and disinfection is of key concern.

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