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Photostimulated Luminescence Detection of Irradiated Herbs, Spices, and Seasonings: International Interlaboratory Trial

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An interlaboratory trial was conducted to validate photostimulated luminescence (PSL) methods for herbs, spices, and seasonings. Forty products (11 herbs, 17 spices, and 12 seasonings) were purchased from a local commercial source, and randomly selected samples were irradiated with 10 kGy. Four blended products were prepared at Scottish Universities Research and Reactor Centre, mixing varying proportions of irradiated material with the untreated product. Precharacterization against a predefined threshold identified low sensitivity products (black and white peppers) and products with high natural signals (thyme, sage, parsley, and mixed herbs), both of which might be susceptible to misclassification. Precharacterization also revealed whether calibration was likely to resolve overlap between classification categories. Eight sets of screening data and 5 sets of calibrated data were returned by participants. Of the 840 samples sent, 1593 screening measurements and 788 calibrated measurements were received from 662 samples. In screening mode, participants reached definitive conclusions in 87% of cases, 99% of which were correct. Of the remaining 13%, calibration to identify low-sensitivity resolved 60% of cases. Overall, 94% of samples were correctly identified by either screening alone, or screening plus calibration; 6% remained unclassified and therefore required further investigation by thermoluminescence. The results confirm the validity of the PSL method for herbs, spices, seasonings, and blends, and emphasize the need for calibration to identify low-sensitivity samples. This method has now been adopted by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Scottish Universities Research and Reactor Centre (SURRC), Scottish Enterprise Technology Park, Rankine Ave, East Kilbride, G75 OQF, UK

Publication date: 2003-09-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL publishes refereed papers and reviews in the fields of chemical, biological and toxicological analytical chemistry for the purpose of showcasing the most precise, accurate and sensitive methods for analysis of foods, food additives, supplements and contaminants, cosmetics, drugs, toxins, hazardous substances, pesticides, feeds, fertilizers and the environment available at that point in time. The scope of the Journal includes unpublished original research describing new analytical methods, techniques and applications; improved approaches to sampling, both in the field and the laboratory; better methods of preparing samples for analysis; collaborative studies substantiating the performance of a given method; statistical techniques for evaluating data. The Journal will also publish other articles of general interest to its audience, e.g., technical communications; cautionary notes; comments on techniques, apparatus, and reagents.
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