Food safety assessment and risk for toxoplasmosis in school restaurants in Armenia, Colombia
We assessed the risk for toxoplasmosis in 10 school restaurants in Armenia (Quindio, Colombia). We analyzed the presence of Toxoplasma gondii DNA in the food, water, and living and inert surfaces of school restaurants, and we correlated these findings with the results of food safety inspection scores and with the prevalence of specific anti-T. gondii antibodies in children who ate at these restaurants. Of the 213 samples, 6.1% were positive using PCR to test for T. gondii DNA. Positive samples were found in meat, water, cucumber, guava juice, inert surfaces, and living surfaces. In 60% (6/10) of the public school restaurants, there was at least one PCR T. gondii-positive sample. In 311 serum samples from children who attended the restaurants, 101 (33%) were positive for IgG and 12 (3.9%) for IgM anti-T. gondii. The median of the compound score for the fulfillment of inspection for food safety conditions was of 60.7% (range 50–72). Higher T. gondii PCR positivity in surfaces, food, or water at each restaurant was correlated with lower inspection scores for water supply and water storage conditions. Lower scores in physical infrastructure and disinfection procedures and higher scores in furniture were correlated with a higher prevalence of IgG anti-T. gondii in children who ate at those restaurants. Inspection scores can identify restaurants with a higher risk for the presence of T. gondii.
KeywordsToxoplasma Foodborne protozoa PCR Molecular detection
We thank Dr. Dubey (USDA, Belstville) who kindly donated T. gondii oocysts.
This work was funded by the Universidad del Quindio and Colciencias Grant Number: 111372553376.
Compliance with ethical standards
The protocol of this study was approved by the institutional ethical committee for the Faculty of Health Sciences of the Universidad del Quindio (Act 35 of May 14, 2012).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.
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