On The Matter Of Sampling

A Quick Word On The Importance of Proper Sampling.

Let's say we want to test something to get an idea of its nutritional value. For our example let us use a pizza with multiple toppings.

If you wanted to know the true properties of this pizza (subject to some analytical variances) you would have to grind up and test every bit of the whole pizza, which would be very costly and time consuming. So we need to reduce the sample size.

Much better. Now we only spend half of the original time and money on testing, and it looks like we still have a sample that would represent the whole rather well. Bread, sauce, cheese, meat and veggies seem to be represented in our reduced-size sample. What if we made the sample very much smaller, about the size of bite?

Now our sample size is small and easy to test; the trouble is the nutrient profile is going to look like our whole product is mostly made of linguica with very little bread or other toppings.

Quite frankly, when we analyze samples brought into our lab our most important job is to make sure we run our tests on the samples properly. That's why in our reports you'll find an explanation that the results are indicative of the sample received, NOT necessarily the whole batch from which the sample was taken. We can't 'reverse engineer' the results to negate poor sampling. Testing that little bite of linguica isn't going to tell us what the whole pizza has in it.

With that in mind, if you are unsure what size sample is best (or procedure to gather it) give us a call and we'll let you know. That way the results from our tests will make more sense and instill a bit more confidence in the values we report back to you. We actually have tested pizza before, by the way, but the same issues also apply to liquids, feeds, minerals, forages and other food products.

We'll take your sample and properly prepare it for testing, which may include drying, grinding or blending so that it is homogenous (uniform throughout) and ready to be analyzed.


Again, call us if you have questions. Thank you!