Food Specimen Collection

Policy

Category: General – Health Protection
Subject: Food Specimen Collection
Division: Health Protection
Policy Number: CA.86.01.101
Effective Date: November 1, 2015

POLICY STATEMENT

It is the policy of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH), Health Protection Division, to collect food specimens for laboratory analysis for the purpose of routine surveillance, and investigation of food complaints, suspect food borne illness, enteric outbreaks and special surveys. Samples will be collected as per the Public Health Ontario - Public Health Inspector’s Guide to the Principles and Practices of Environmental Microbiology and submitted to a Public Health Laboratory in order to ensure that indicator bacteria and food borne pathogen counts are within acceptable limits.

SCOPE

This policy applies all WDGPH employees working in the Control of Infectious Disease (CID) team and General Program (GP) Public Health Inspectors team in the Health Protection Division.

REFERENCES AND RELATED FORMS, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Corresponding Procedure: CA.86.02.101 Food Specimen Collection
CA.86.01.100 and CA.86.02.100 Food Premises Inspection – All Food Premises
Public Health Inspector’s Guide to the Principles and Practices of Environmental Microbiology
Ontario Public Health Standards, Food Safety Protocol
Ontario Public Health Standards, Institutional/Facility Outbreak Prevention and Control Protocol
Ontario Public Health Standards, Risk Assessment and Inspection of Facilities Protocol
Health Protection and Promotion Act

Ontario Regulation 562 – Food Premises

CONTACT FOR INQUIRIES

Manager, Health Protection

APPROVED BY

Director, Health Protection  


Procedure

Category: General – Health Protection
Subject: Food Specimen Collection
Division: Health Protection
Procedure Number: CA.86.02.101
Effective Date: November 1, 2015

PROCEDURE

  1. Food specimens shall be collected as per the directions provided in the Public Health Inspector’s Guide to the Principles and Practices of Environmental Microbiology, published by Public Health Ontario (PHO), as current.
  2. Copies of the manual are available in the Health Protection Division offices in Fergus, Guelph and Orangeville and can be obtained online at: http://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/eRepository/Public_Health_Inspector…
  3. A minimum of 200 grams of food per food item is required for analysis.
  4. Where operators of food premises routinely retain samples of hazardous food items served to children/residents/patients these samples will be collected and submitted by the Public Health Inspector (PHI) to facilitate trace-back in the event of an enteric outbreak or suspect food poisoning. It is recommended that these samples be labeled to reflect:
  • Date of preparation and date of service; and
  • Item name.
  1. Samples will be submitted by the PHI as necessary to a local Public Health Laboratory for analysis.
  2. Where a PHI deems it necessary to collect and submit food specimens from a food premises as part of an investigation involving food, the PHI will document the items collected for submission within the closing comments of the Food Premises Inspection Report, and will provide relevant details, i.e. item name, date of preparation and/or service, whether samples are refrigerated or frozen and the reason for collection.
  3. The PHI will scan the food specimen submission form showing final testing results to Hedgehog – Documents section under the relevant premise, and will give the final food specimen form, once received from the Public Health Laboratory, to the Program Assistant for attachment to the premise paper file. 
  4. The PHI will provide follow-up information to the owner/operator and complainant (if applicable) regarding results and interpretation of results. 

RESPONSIBILITIES

Management will:
  • Provide support to PHIs in the field.
 Public Health Inspectors (GP/CID) will:
  • Conduct inspections of all food premises at a minimum frequency determined by an annual risk assessment, with additional inspections in response to outstanding non-compliant items, complaints and on request;
  • Provide education to operators regarding collection of food samples and interpretation of results; and
  • Collect food samples as necessary during routine inspections, investigation of complaints, suspect food-borne illness investigations, enteric outbreaks and special surveys.

REFERENCES AND RELATED FORMS, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Corresponding Policy CA.86.01.101 Food Specimen Collection
CA.86.01.100 and CA.86.02.100 Food Premises Inspection – All Food Premises
Public Health Inspector’s Guide to the Principles and Practices of Environmental Microbiology
Ontario Public Health Standards, Food Safety Protocol
Ontario Public Health Standards, Institutional/Facility Outbreak Prevention and Control Protocol
Ontario Public Health Standards, Risk Assessment and Inspection of Facilities Protocol
Health Protection and Promotion Act

Ontario Regulation 562 – Food Premises

CONTACT FOR INQUIRIES

Manager, Health Protection

APPROVED BY

Director, Health Protection