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Food Sampling

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Food samples and food preparation surface swabs are periodically collected from food/beverage service establishments within the City and County of Eau Claire for laboratory analysis using standard plate count (SPC) and coliform testing. The results are used to identify sanitation deficiencies in these establishments. If sanitation deficiencies are found, an environmental health specialist contacts the establishment and works with the operators to correct the deficiencies.

Bacteria standards have been adopted as part of a state or local regulation for ice cream products, milk products and ground meat. These products are sampled and tested on a periodic basis to assess compliance with these standards. Failure to meet the bacteria standards can result in an order from our Department that requires sale of the product to be discontinued. Establishments with deficiencies receive evaluations and recommendations by Health Department environmental health specialists regarding storage, handling, temperature maintenance, cleaning, sanitizing and rotation of products exceeding bacteria standards.

Bacteria standards have not been adopted for restaurant foods, cold cuts, sandwiches, deli products, ice, sodas or food/preparation surface swabs. Bacteria counts for these products are used as a guideline to indicate possible sanitary deficiencies. Environmental health staff will conduct on-site evaluations where test results indicate sanitary deficiencies may exist. Recommendations such as storage, handling, temperature maintenance, product rotation and sanitation are discussed with management to correct possible problems and follow-up sampling and testing is done to assess improvements.

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