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