ATP ... when clean to sight and touch is not enough.
Every surface touch in a professional kitchen, restroom and service area is different and carries an unknown risk factor for contaminating the hands, bare or gloved. These hands in turn can contaminate the food or another person directly. Grouping these touches, with the HACCP principle in mind, is a good first step - prioritizing those touches that must trigger a handwash and a specific hand hygiene regimen.
Surface cleanliness in food processing establishments has an operational definition. Cleaning procedures and frequencies are established to consistently yield safe level standards. These surfaces are monitored and included in food safety audits.
Foodservice is a smaller scale food processing operation. The operational needs are very different as people, hands and small batches are the order of the day rather than machines controlling long production runs. Adding to the control issue for foodservice are language skills, culture and the fact that the public are invited into the service space, shared with the workforce like on cruise ship.
Looking at the number of people affected and the costs associated with just Hep A and Norovirus outbreaks, should some foodservice surfaces be monitored more closely? Should operators perhaps use ATP technology to both assign numbers to the acceptable cleanliness levels and train the cleaning staff by demonstrating and documenting what clean is - beyond sight and touch. The immediate feedback of an ATP luminometer is a powerful, language-free, training tool.
ATP luminometer systems vary widely in performance and price. Accuracy and repeatability are increased in meters using a photomultiplier tube (PMT).