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, nuts, chilled fish products or water supplies at mobile catering vans.

  • Informal samples - can't be used for prosecutions, but can be used to highlight problems and give advice. For the majority of informal samples we will buy the product as a regular customer would.
  • Formal sampling - takes place when we are concerned the public is at risk and need to gather evidence that the food being produced is unsafe. Formal sampling is done in a special way and we will ensure that the food business operator knows that the sample is being taken for analysis and help him understand his rights.

Sometimes formal samples will be taken after a poor result on an informal sample.

If you have any questions about food sampling, please call the food safety team on 01543 308729 or email

You can also write to:

Food Safety Team, Lichfield District Council, District Council House, Frog Lane, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 6ZE