Taking samples


There is a great need for efficient and reliable sampling plans for analytically tracing GMOs. This project comes up with the best ways of sampling food and feed material to be able to check for GM content along all food and feed supply chains.


One part of this project is to analyse currently used sampling plans. These include plans for taking samples from seed, crops in the field, harvested grain, food and feed ingredients, and finished products. Different methods are compared and statistics are used to find out the reliability of each sampling method.

This project studies supply chains to find the most strategic points for GMO testing. Some points along the supply chain are better suited for GMO testing than others. Testing crops in the field, for example, can pose major problems, as conventional crops situated closely to a GM field will likely have much more GM presence than plants in the same field that are farther away from the GM planting. Collecting a sample representative of the entire field would require considerable planning and effort. To save time and money, for example, it may be recommendable to test for GMOs after harvest.


Applying control plans that have been optimised for efficiency between sampling and analysis for the soya bean scenario, fitness for purpose parameters can be attained more easily when sampling for soybean flour is undertaken.
Dedicated software tools to support sampling and sub-sampling plans aimed at GM detection through the food and feed chain were also developed: SISSI a novel approach to estimate the optimal sample size in experimental data collection and OPACSA (OPtimal ACceptance Sampling by Attributes) a new statistical optimisation software including a cost function to find the cheapest and most reliable mode of analysis by sub-sampling.
The SIMQUANT method, based on MPN2  at the level of DNA copies in solution provides a method for measuring the quantity of GMOs at low concentrations using qualitative detection. A sub-sampling strategy, also called control plans by multi-attributes, is another method for measuring the quantity of GMOs using qualitative test results.

More information:

GMO sampling strategies in the food and feed chain

Rationalization of GMO testing by appropriate sub sampling and control plans

Public Deliverables of the Co-Extra project

2 Most Probable Number


Joint Research Centre (JRC), Italy
Email: info@coextra.eu