1. Label the sample tube with a permanent marker.

    Note: If sampling for the presence/absence testing of pathogens, a single swab is required for each specific pathogen test. Multiple quantitative indicator tests (e.g., Aerobic plate count, Coliform/E.coli, Yeast/Mold) can be performed from a single swab.

  2. Unscrew the cap from the tube and remove excess media by pressing the swab tip against the inside of the tube.
  3. Remove the swab from the tube carefully.
  4. Press the tip portion of the device with firm pressure to ensure full contact with the desired sampling surface. Move the swab back and forth in vertical direction while applying firm pressure and rotating the swab to ensure entire swab tip makes contact with the surface. Change the direction 90o and move the swab back and forth in horizontal direction, repeating the same sampling process.
    Girl in a jacket
  5. After sampling is complete, insert the swab into the prelabeled tube and tighten the cap.
  6. Collect all samples in an insulated cooler with ice packs and ship overnight to EMSL Analytical, Inc. Samples should not come in direct contact with the ice packs and should ideally be kept at 0-8o C (not frozen) during transportation

Additional reminders:

  • Ensure that appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is used and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) are strictly adhered to during sampling activities.
  • Ensure that the sponge samples do not come in direct contact with finished product to avoid potential for cross-contamination. The use of a secondary barrier container is recommended.
  • During sampling activity, be mindful of the sequence of sampling activity as moving sponge samples from the raw food area into the finished product handling area can increase potential for crosscontamination.
  • If sampling for quantitative tests (e.g., Aerobic Plate Count, Yeast/Mold, Coliform/E.coli) using Petrifilm methods, ensure that the sponges are hydrated with HiCap Neutralizing broth or letheen broth. Neutralizing buffer and D/E neutralizing broth contain chemical compounds that can interfere with Petrifilm methods.
  • Verify that a completed chain of custody form (COC) is included in the container and that the sample descriptions exactly match the labels written on the samples.