Ellen Estremera-Cea, Master of Food Service Administration, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City

    Background: Most of the studies done in the Philippines regarding Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) application focused on commercial and educational food service institutions. A HACCP study has yet to deal with hospital food service operations, despite reports on microbiological contamination in hospital food service, particularly in blenderized feeding. Objectives: (1) To evaluate the existing food safety system of a hospital food service operation using the HACCP approach and (2) To develop a food safety program for the preparation and administration of blenderized feeding formula. Methods: Four gathering instruments were used: (1) documentation analysis on hospital records and policies on food safety implementation; (2) interview and survey questionnaire among food service supervisors/dietitians, food service workers and the nursing staff to determine knowledge and application of food safety program; (3) actual observation of blenderized feeding preparation and administration using sanitation checklist to determine the safe food practices; and 4) microbiological analysis of food contact surfaces to validate the results of survey and checklist, and to determine the effectiveness of the food safety procedures in formula preparation and administration. Data were processed using descriptive statistics. Results: The evaluation indicated that hospital administration extended support and showed commitment to food safety in terms of materials, equipment, facilities, and training. Food service staff, of ages between 30 to 49 years, had varied levels of education, and had over ten years of service in the institution. Majority of the food service staff had undergone training and were knowledgeable about food safety procedures, were familiar with HACCP perceiving this as the present food safety assessment program of the hospital and regarded food safety procedures as very important in their food service operation. Non-compliance by the food service staff with some aspects of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) was observed. Low microbial contamination during formula preparation may be attributed to the observance of standard food safety procedures. Nursing staff, aged 20 to 29 years, had tertiary education, had only 1 to 2 years of service in the hospital, were knowledgeable about the food safety procedures and their importance in providing safe food, and practiced standard nursing care procedures in formula feeding. However, food safety practices in handling the formula were not regularly observed, as evidenced by higher microbial contamination during formula administration than formula preparation. Conclusion: The HACCP application revealed that the hospital already followed established food safety procedures in blenderized feeding preparation and administration. Principles of HACCP system were applied in the different processes of formula preparation and administration. Based on the evaluation of current food safety procedures in formula preparation and administration, an improved HACCP-based model for a safety program in blenderized feeding was developed.


    A very high level of compliance to GMP is recommended prior to the application of the HACCP-based program. The results of the study can serve as benchmark for establishing a systematic approach to food safety procedures for blenderized feeding preparation and administration in the hospitals, and can provide baseline data for members of the Philippine Hospital Association (PHA), Department of Health (DOH), National Institute of Health (NIH) and other concerned government agencies in the formulation and implementation of food safety policies, rules and regulations governing food service administration in hospitals.