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Creating a Practical Tool for Risk-Based Sampling

 

Our goal is to ultimately help growers do a better job of in-field testing for foodborne pathogens, so the growers can continue to improve on the safety of their produce,” Stasiewicz said. “Risk-based sampling is something we know the industry is trying to move toward. If we know there are locations in the field that are at higher risk of contamination than others, we take a higher number of samples in those locations to detect potential contamination of the field.

“We’re building what hopefully is an easy-to-use interface so growers or other interested parties can evaluate whatever sampling program they want to apply.”

Many programs typically involve collecting 60 samples from a field, combining them in a container and creating what’s known as an n60 composite. But the exact location from where the samples are collected varies, depending on the program. In a generic program, for example, a person may walk straight and collect samples every 100 yards. Another plan may involve a person walking a “Z” pattern as they collect samples. But those sampling plans don’t necessarily focus on areas of the field that have a higher risk of contamination, such as under power lines where birds may sit, close to open water sources or near signs of obvious animal intrusions, Stasiewicz said.

Further details about this project can be found here.

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