New Tool for Improved Food Sampling Performance

Conclusions about whether a food or ingredient is safe are often based on the results of tests performed on samples of product. Therefore, it is critical that sampling plans maximize the probability of finding a target hazard, particularly when contamination is non-uniform and occurring at low levels. To address this need, investigators at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with funding from IAFNS, built a validated and ready-to-use simulation model to maximize the power of sampling plans to detect target hazards. This publicly available model allows food safety professionals to better manage risks in their specific systems.

  • The model has been validated against published data of pathogen contamination in produce fields and mycotoxin contamination in corn.
  • Users can evaluate the power of various sampling plans at explicitly defined prevalence, level, and/or distribution of target hazards.
  • By improving sampling performance, users can increase the probability of hazard detection and minimize the risk of false negatives.

View instructional videos on how to use the model:

To elevate the use and application of the bulk product sampling model, and improve food safety planning, Ruben Chavez Viteri, 2022 IAFNS Research Assistant credited these videos. Learn more about Ruben’s experience as an intern with IAFNS in this interview.

Looking ahead, the IAFNS Food Microbiology Committee is supporting an extension of this project to develop a model that can be used to detect low-prevalence, low-level contamination in powdered products such as powdered milk and cocoa powder. More information on that initiative is available here.

This work is supported by IAFNS Food Microbiology Committee.