The aim of the study was to evaluate the overall hygienic–sanitary conditions of university hospitals foodservices and assess food safety knowledge and self‐reported practices of food handlers. A self‐administered questionnaire based on sanitary standards for foodservices was given to 123 food handlers from three public hospitals. Microbiological analysis of food handling surfaces and food hygiene inspections were also performed. Food handlers’ self‐reported knowledge and practices reached satisfactory levels (77.2% and 78.1%, respectively), and showed a significant positive intercorrelation (p < .05). Food hygiene inspections in the hospitals foodservices presented a 60.9% average of adequacy and microbiological analysis results showed that 66.7% of the evaluated surfaces presented significant contamination by mesophilic bacteria. The presence of coliforms at 45°C above the safety limit was identified in 47.9% of the surfaces. The results showed a need for motivating hospital food handlers to practice the safe handling knowledge that they have demonstrated in theory.
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