Abstract The aim of this study was to analyze the microbiological quality of meals served in nursing homes in the city of Ponta Grossa, Paraná, before and after the training of food handlers. The first stage was to perform a checklist conforming with current legislation. The second consisted of the collection of 4 food samples from each location and a microbiological investigation in accordance with the relevant legislation. The third was the training of food handlers in relation to good food handling practices. The fourth was a further microbiological analysis of new samples. The application of a checklist showed that the locations met the requirements of current legislation. Of the 40 samples analyzed, 17.5% (7 samples) were unfit for consumption. Among the unfit samples 15% (6 samples) had coliforms at 45 °C, 2.5% (1 sample) had coagulase-positive staphylococci, 2.5% (1 sample) had Bacillus cereus and 2.5% (1 sample) had Salmonella sp. The results of this study show the importance of controlling the quality of food served to an age group that is prone to health risks.