Food Testing for Bacteria

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Consumer complaint samples from the general public are not accepted. Consumers are advised to take the product to the manufacturer or store where it was purchased. Illness resulting from food consumption should be reported to your local county health department. Suspected food tampering cases should be reported to your local law enforcement agency.

Food samples are accepted for testing under the following scenarios:

  1. Food borne disease outbreak investigation - Criteria:
  1. In support of a surveillance or enforcement action resulting from a sanitary inspection performed by a local or state public health official.
  1. In support of state or federal food safety surveillance programs.
  1. In support of federal or state investigations of suspected terrorism events.

Contact the MSPHL Environmental Bacteriology Unit at 573-751-3334 for food sampling kits.

A completed food sample information form must accompany each sample submitted.
Food Specimen Information Sheet
Chain of Custody Form

Additional information regarding the proper collection and submission of food samples may be found in the DHSS Communicable Disease Investigation Reference Manual, Section 30.0, Outbreak Investigation, Acute Gastroenteritis.
Foodborne Disease Handbook

Foodborne Outbreak Flowchart

Tests Available and Methods:

  • Aerobic Plate Count (bacteria) - Pour Plate
  • Total Coliform Bacteria - Multiple Tube Fermentation (MTF) Most Probable Number (MPN)
  • Fecal Coliform Bacteria - Multiple Tube Fermentation (MTF) Most Probable Number (MPN)
  • Fecal Streptococcus (Enterococcus) - Pour Plate
  • Yeast And Mold Plate Count - Pour Plate
  • Coagulase Positive Staphylococcus Count - Spread Plate
  • Staphylococcus aureus PCR
  • Salmonella Isolation, Speciation and PCR
  • Shigella Isolation and Speciation
  • E. Coli O157:H7 Isolation, latex agglutination and PCR
  • Listeria Isolation, Speciation and PCR
  • Campylobacter Isolation, Speciation and PCR
  • Clostridium perfringens Isolation
  • Bacillus cereus Plate Count - Spread Plate
  • Vibrio Isolation and Speciation
  • Yersinia Isolation and Speciation
  • Bioterrorism agent PCR, Isolation and Speciation
  • Botulinum toxin EIA