CB1.8 - Effect of sample preparation on the determination of aflatoxins
- To improve understanding of factors affecting the uncertainty of aflatoxin analysis and reduce the number of disputes arising from sample inhomogeneity.
- To assess the fitness for purpose of sample preparation procedures in generating representative samples for referee analysis.
Aflatoxins are toxic metabolites produced by certain strains of the fungi aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus in or on foods (especially nuts) and animal feeding stuffs.
Because aflatoxins are produced by moulds that grow in an irregular manner in a consignment of food, their distribution is not homogeneous. Therefore, special legislative provisions have been made which require incremental samples taken from the bulk to be combined and homogenised in a specific way.
In a number of referee cases, significant variability in the aflatoxin content of different test portions taken from the same allegedly homogeneous sample was highlighted. Evidence indicated that the sample preparation step might not be providing a representative, homogeneous sample for analysis as first thought.
This project will evaluate the performance of prescribed sample preparation techniques, by homogeneity testing samples provided by various PA laboratories. The project will assess whether current legislative procedures are capable of achieving the required level of homogeneity under ideal conditions and, if appropriate, recommend improvements, in order to improve the validity of statutory and referee analysis.