A follow-up study of hygiene in catering premises at large-scale events in the United Kingdom

Caroline Willis*, Nicola Elviss, James McLauchlin

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Aims: To investigate food hygiene practices at large events by assessing the microbiological quality of ready-to-eat food, drinking water, food preparation surfaces, cleaning cloths and wristbands worn by food handlers for event security purposes. Methods and Results: Over a 7-month period, 1662 samples were collected at 153 events and examined for microbiological contamination. Eight per cent of food samples were of an unsatisfactory quality. A further one per cent contained potentially hazardous levels of human pathogenic bacteria. 27% of water samples, 32% of swabs and 56% of cloths were also unsatisfactory. These results represented an improvement in hygiene compared to a previous study carried out 12 months previously. A fifth of food handler wristbands were contaminated with Enterobacteriaceae, Escherichia coli and/or coagulase-positive staphylococci, with those bands made from fabric being more frequently contaminated than those made from plastic or other materials. Conclusions: This study provides evidence that the food hygiene at large-scale events may have improved. However, there is still a need for continued efforts to maintain an ongoing improvement in cleaning regimes and food hygiene management. Significance and Impact of the Study: This study was part of an ongoing focus on large events in the lead-up to the London 2012 Olympics. Lessons learnt here will be important in the planning of future large events.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)222-232
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2014 Society for Applied Microbiology This article is Published with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and Queen's Printer for Scotland.


    • Food hygiene
    • Large events
    • Mass gatherings
    • Olympics
    • Water quality


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