The control of the occurrence of mycotoxins in foods and feeds requires effective surveillance and quality control procedures which facilitate the identification and control of the mycotoxin problem respectively.
Surveillance and quality control procedures involve a sequence of sampling, sample preparation, and analysis steps; and the integrity of the data produced by these procedures will be determined by the effectiveness of these steps.
It is imperative that the sampling step is performed as accurately as possible so that the sample collected is representative of the batch of food or feed under investigation. Needless to say, the collection of a biased sample will completely invalidate the resultant analytical data.
Most attempts to develop effective sampling protocols have focused upon the aflatoxins, since the majority of current regulations are concerned specifically with this group of mycotoxins. However, the design of effective sampling protocols has been severely hindered by the highly skewed distribution of the aflatoxins in foods and feeds.
Studies already performed indicate that representative samples of commodities composed of large particles (e.g., com and oilseed kernels) should be 10 kg in weight, at least, and composed of approximately one hundred incremental samples. Similar studies have indicated that samples of oilseed cakes and meal, however, should be composed of fifty incremental samples which afford a composite sample of approximately 5 kg in weight.
Coker, R.D.; Nagler, M.J.; Blunden, G.; Sharkey, A.J.; Defize, P.R.; Derksen, G.B.; Whitaker, T.B. Design of sampling plans for mycotoxins in foods and feeds. Natural Toxins (1995) 3 (4) 257-262. [DOI: 10.1002/nt.2620030417]