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Luminescence. 1999 Jan-Feb;14(1):33-8.

Evaluation of two methods for monitoring surface cleanliness-ATP bioluminescence and traditional hygiene swabbing.

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Food Safety Research Group, University of Wales Institute Cardiff, Colchester Avenue Campus, Colchester Avenue, Cardiff CF3 7XR, UK.


The minimum bacterial detection limits and operator reproducibility of the Biotrace Clean-Tracetrade mark Rapid Cleanliness Test and traditional hygiene swabbing were determined. Areas (100 cm2) of food grade stainless steel were separately inoculated with known levels of Staphylococcus aureus (NCTC 6571) and Escherichia coli (ATCC 25922). Surfaces were sampled either immediately after inoculation while still wet, or after 60 min when completely dry. For both organisms the minimum detection limit of the ATP Clean-Tracetrade mark Rapid Cleanliness Test was 10(4) cfu/100 cm2 (p < 0.05) and was the same for wet and dry surfaces. Both organism type and surface status (i.e. wet or dry) influenced the minimum detection limits of hygiene swabbing, which ranged from 10(2) cfu/100 cm2 to >10(7) cfu/100 cm2. Hygiene swabbing percentage recovery rates for both organisms were less than 0.1% for dried surfaces but ranged from 0.33% to 8.8% for wet surfaces. When assessed by six technically qualified operators, the Biotrace Clean-Tracetrade mark Rapid Cleanliness Test gave superior reproducibility for both clean and inoculated surfaces, giving mean coefficients of variation of 24% and 32%, respectively. Hygiene swabbing of inoculated surfaces gave a mean CV of 130%. The results are discussed in the context of hygiene monitoring within the food industry.

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