Assessing analytical variability of measurement of vitamin A in corn-soy blend.

Abstract

Two multilaboratory investigations were conducted by SUSTAIN to assess variability in the measurement of vitamin A, the marker used to verify levels of vitamin premix addition to enriched/fortified food aid products, including the widely distributed corn-soy blend (CSB). CSB specifications identify AACC Approved Method 86-06 or equivalent methods for vitamin A analysis, however there is no requirement to demonstrate equivalency. CSB samples with known and blinded levels of vitamin A and a reference standard were analyzed by 16 laboratories using their respective methods. Calculated coefficients of variation across all laboratories and methods for unknown samples and reference standard were 35 and 7.1%, respectively, suggesting the largest source of variation is the vitamin extraction procedure. Laboratories generally overestimated low levels and underestimated high levels of vitamin A within the range of 6000 and 16 000 IU/lb. Only two laboratories demonstrated excellent internal precision (+/- 300 IU vitamin A/lb) and reported values within 95% confidence interval for all blinded samples. Results of this study have implications both for quality control in food aid products (due to the use of vitamin A as a marker) and for regulatory oversight of vitamin A content in commercial food products.