Persons entering a hospital are often more susceptible to infection than normal persons because of their debilitated condition. The hospital food supply is a potential source of infectious pathogenic microorganisms. Three infectious bacteria are of particular concern because of their ubiquitous nature and heartiness. They are Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli.Transfer of microorganisms to patients via hospital food supplies can occur in three ways. First, pathogenic bacteria can be brought in on food itself. If food is not cooked, as is true of many fruits and some vegetables, bacteria can be transferred from the food to the patient. Second, food service personnel may be carriers of pathogenic organisms that can contaminate food and then be transferred to the patient via the food supply. Third, mishandling of food by improper or insufficient heating, refrigeration, or storage can result in foodborne illness. Beside food, bacteria that cause nosocomial infections can come from such sources as hospital personnel (nurses, doctors, etc.), general hospital equipment, and burn victims. Proper food handling together with adequate employee education are probably the most practical means to control the problem of nosocomial infections resulting from hospital food.

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