Food testing and sampling
Occasionally we will take samples from food businesses and have them analysed to make sure that food and the environment it is produced in is safe.
Samples can include portions of food, water used for washing or cooking, swabs taken of surfaces or items such as cleaning cloths.
We belong to the Staffordshire Food Sampling Group which requires councils from across the county to take samples of a specific food each month. These samples are then taken to a laboratory for analysis, to see if the food is safe and clean. Some examples of recent studies are:
- Imported chocolate
- Chilled fish products
- Water supplies at mobile catering vans
Most of the time samples are taken on an informal basis - this means they can't be used for prosecutions, but will be used to highlight problems and give advice. For the majority of informal samples an officer will purchase the product as a regular customer would.
Formal sampling takes place when one of our officers is concerned that the public is at risk and wishes to gather evidence that the food being produced is unsafe.
Formal sampling is done in a special way and the officer will ensure that the food business operator knows that the sample is being taken for analysis and help them understand their rights.
Sometimes formal samples will be taken after a poor result on an informal sample.