Sampling food for safety

Find out why we may take food samples and what the sampling process involves.

What food sampling is

Microbiological analysis by the Public Health Laboratory can show contamination. This includes food poisoning organisms that may cause sickness.

Physical objects like insects, or chemicals can contaminate food.

Officers from the food team are responsible for taking food samples.

They may do this for:

Find more information in the food safety sampling policy.

Sampling programmes and initiatives

We take part in sampling initiatives organised by: 

  • Local Government Regulation 
  • Chartered Institute of Environmental Health 
  • Sussex Food Liaison Group
  • local Health Protection Agency
  • Foods Standard Agency

The sampling programme includes: 

  • food or food contact surfaces 
  • food manufacturers 
  • manufacturers selling mainly by retail
  • caterers
  • retailers

We take samples of foods and food contact surfaces as part of routine work. We also take these samples when we investigate specific issues at a business.