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Sampling Hazelnuts for Aflatoxin: Effect of Sample Size and Accept/Reject Limit on Reducing the Risk of Misclassifying Lots

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About 100 countries have established regulatory limits for aflatoxin in food and feeds. Because these limits vary widely among regulating countries, the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants began work in 2004 to harmonize aflatoxin limits and sampling plans for aflatoxin in almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, and Brazil nuts. Studies were developed to measure the uncertainty and distribution among replicated sample aflatoxin test results taken from aflatoxin-contaminated treenut lots. The uncertainty and distribution information is used to develop a model that can evaluate the performance (risk of misclassifying lots) of aflatoxin sampling plan designs for treenuts. Once the performance of aflatoxin sampling plans can be predicted, they can be designed to reduce the risks of misclassifying lots traded in either the domestic or export markets. A method was developed to evaluate the performance of sampling plans designed to detect aflatoxin in hazelnuts lots. Twenty hazelnut lots with varying levels of contamination were sampled according to an experimental protocol where 16 test samples were taken from each lot. The observed aflatoxin distribution among the 16 aflatoxin sample test results was compared to lognormal, compound gamma, and negative binomial distributions. The negative binomial distribution was selected to model aflatoxin distribution among sample test results because it gave acceptable fits to observed distributions among sample test results taken from a wide range of lot concentrations. Using the negative binomial distribution, computer models were developed to calculate operating characteristic curves for specific aflatoxin sampling plan designs. The effect of sample size and accept/reject limits on the chances of rejecting good lots (sellers' risk) and accepting bad lots (buyers' risk) was demonstrated for various sampling plan designs.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: TUBITAK Marmara Research Center, Food Institute, PO Box 21, 41470 Gebze Kocaeli, Turkey. 2: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Box 7625, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7625. 3: North Carolina State University, Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, Box 7625, Raleigh, NC 27695-7625. 4: North Carolina State University, Department of Statistics, Box 8203, Raleigh, NC 27695-8203.

Publication date: July 1, 2007

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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