How To Collect A Sample

“The result of any testing method can be no better than the sample on which it is performed.”

Making the adequacy and condition of the sample received for microbiological testing of primary importance.

Sample Collection Containers:

Wherever possible, submit samples to the laboratory in the original, unopened container.

If this is not possible, for bulk samples or containers too large for submission, transfer a representative portion of the product being tested into a sterile container under aseptic conditions.

To make sampling easier Vinlab Micro recommends clean, dry containers that are leak-proof and wide-mouthed.

Cans, bags, packets or metal boxes with suitable closures, and that are sterile, can be used for sampling of dry materials.

Line sampling can take place within sterile plastic bags, should they be dry and unfrozen, or plastic bottles.

Sampling bags should never be overfilled.

Glass containers may break and contaminate food products making them impractical.


Environmental sampling:

Swab sticks, sponge swabs and contact plates are generally used for environmental sampling.

Swab sticks and sponge swabs:

A wide range of areas where contamination might be found should be swabbed.

Label each swab with sufficient detail.

Remove swab from sterile packaging and moisten the tip (if wet swabbing) by immersing tube in suitable buffer. Press swab against buffer tube to remove excess liquid.

Select area to be swabbed and press the tip of the swab onto the surface.

Place swab back in tube.

Swab is now ready for delivery at Vinlab Micro.

Contact Plates:

Contact plates are available with microbiological media selective for the detection of specific organisms.

Remove contact plate from transporting container.

Label contact plate with sufficient detail.

Open the contact plate in area to be tested for verified sampling time (anything from 30 minutes to 3 hours).

Close contact plate and return to transporting container.

Contact plates are now ready for delivery at Vinlab Micro.


Delivery conditions:

Samples should be delivered to the laboratory as promptly as possible.

Original storage conditions should be maintained as nearly as possible.

Frozen samples should be solidly frozen at all times.

Refrigerated samples should be placed on ice with temperatures not exceeding 4°C.

Dry, canned, non-perishable products stored at ambient temperature can be delivered to the laboratory at ambient temperatures.