Effective sampling strategy to detect food and feed contamination : Herbs and spices case

Bouzembrak, Yamine; Fels, Ine van der


Sampling plans for food safety hazards are aimed to be used to determine whether a lot of food is contaminated (with microbiological or chemical hazards) or not. One of the components of sampling plans is the sampling strategy. The aim of this study was to compare the performance of three different sampling strategies, being simple random sampling (SRS), stratified random sampling (STRS), and systematic sampling (SS), with each other for their probability of detecting a heterogeneously distributed contamination in a lot of herbs or spices (i.e., a dry food product). To this end, a simulation model was developed, and applied to different scenarios for contamination level and numbers of samples collected. In addition, as a case study, the sampling plan of a company processing herbs and spices was evaluated using the simulation model. Results showed that the effectiveness of the sampling plan is influenced by the sampling strategy. With expected low contamination levels the SS strategy performs better than the two other strategies. At higher expected contaminated levels, the STRS strategy is preferred.