We recognise the importance of sampling food within the borough and we are committed to providing a food sampling service.
Our officers routinely take samples of many different foods from a range of premises within the borough, which are then tested by a laboratory to ensure that they are safe to eat.
We decide which foods will be tested based on a program set out to meet the requirements of European, national and local priorities. These can be from a local corner shop, through to larger supermarkets, and from businesses that manufacture food on site. This menas that a cross section of food businesses within the borough will have their food sampled during each year.
The samples taken are varied and can include food, water and environmental samples. Environmental samples may be obtained by swabbing worksurfaces or sampling of dishcloths - this assists in proving the effectiveness of cleaning in a food business.
The samples are collected under aseptic conditions, so that they are not open to contamination in any way during sampling. They are then transported under appropriate temperature control conditions, to the Health Protection Agency laboratory, for bacteriological analysis. The laboratory carries out the tests and notifies us of results within a short time period.
Where any concerns are identified we will be notified immediately so that any poor results can be followed up by a prompt investigation. Depending on the cause of the concern this could involve inspection of the business or formal action.
It may be that the problem relates to the production of food in another part of the country in which case we would liaise with other local authorities to ensure that no foods of unsatisfactory bacteriological standard are sold.
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