JAPA (Online) 2017
Vol 45 pg 01-22

Aflatoxins in Groundnuts – Assessment of the Effectiveness of EU Sampling and UK Enforcement Sample Preparation Procedures

Michael Walkera,b, Peter Colwella, Simon Cowena, Stephen LR Ellisona, Kirstin Graya, Selvarani Elahiaa, Peter Farnella, Phillip Slacka and D Thorburn Burnsc

a Government Chemist Programme, LGC, Queens Road, Teddington, Middlesex TW11 OLY
b To whom correspondence should be addressed, michael.walker@lgcgroup.com
c Institute for Global Food Security, The Queen’s University of Belfast, Belfast BT9 5HN

Summary

In the UK the Government Chemist is required to act as the national focus of technical appeal in specified areas where there is an actual or potential dispute between food businesses and regulators on the results of chemical analysis or their interpretation. 

Many such disputes have involved aflatoxin results. A European Union regulation controls official methods of sampling, sample preparation (often by high speed slurrying with water) and analysis for mycotoxins in foodstuffs. In view of the known distribution heterogeneity of aflatoxins in food, work was undertaken to investigate the effectiveness of the EU sampling protocol, UK enforcement sample preparation procedures and slurry ratio on the determination of aflatoxins in a lot of groundnuts (peanuts) in shell.

Following six replicate sampling exercises each laboratory set of samples (enforcement, defence and reference) was analysed in a single laboratory for aflatoxins in a manner suitable for detailed statistical interpretation. The results obtained in this study demonstrate that the EU sampling protocol is effective and that when the protocol is properly followed the mean results for the three laboratory samples derived from the sampling exercise are expected to be equivalent.

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