Background: The consumption of meals at resturants has increased mass catering establishments.
Such food services may present several risk factors for foodborne diseases, which have a
substantial negative impact on public health. The smallest business with no technical or financial
support struggles to comply with food safety European Regulation. The aim of this four years study
was to assess Good Manufacture Practices (GMP) in Portuguese restaurants applying a designed
food safety methodology, FoodSimplex, through audit data to determine good manufacture practices,
and microbiological sampling of the meals before and after its implementation, by food groups according
to their risk.
Methods: FoodSimplex is a combination of four stages methodology, based on Hazards Analysis and
Critical Control Point (HACCP), combined with technical-functional and food safety audits, with
pretested checklist, training and microbial analysis (Mesophylic bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes, E.
coli, Coagulase-positive staphylococci and Salmonella spp) of the meals served.
Results: Results of the food safety audit for GMP parameters showed a general improvement with
80% compliance with the checklist subitems. The ready-to-eat food samples presented, regarding the
total mesophilic aerobes count, a statistical significant change to acceptable and satisfactory condition
(p-value= 0.029). 100% compliance, with acceptable and satisfactory results was observed for
Listeria monocytogenes (p-value= 0.180) and for E. coli, coagulase-positive Staphylococci and Salmonella
spp., all the food samples presented satisfactory results in the study (100%).
Conclusion: At the end of the investigation period, a decrease in bacterial populations in food samples
was observed with an improvement of the GMP audit data which indicated that the FoodSimplex
methodology improved the food safety status of these establishments.