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The UK's Food Standards Agency launches an investigation

  • Course Code: BIO2003/BIO2005/BMS2
  • Course Title: The UK’s Food Standards Agency
  • Country: UK
  • University: University Of East Anglia

Introduction

The UK’s Food Standards Agency launches an investigation into leaching of a commonly used chemical known as Bisphenol A (BPA) [IUPAC name 4,4'-(propane-2,2-diyl)diphenol].  The chemical is widely used in the manufacture of inert coatings of many types of food packaging. In concentrated form, there is evidence that BPA has hormone-like properties e.g. mimicking oestrogen. This has raised concerns about its presence in consumer products.

This investigation focuses on two different fruit juice carton packaging techniques (A and B), both using cardboard coated with processes involving BPA.  In order to test whether the fruit juice quality was adversely affected by the packaging process, the FSA undertook an experiment comparing the level of BPA from the same batch of fruit juice which was randomly allocated to cartons made using the two techniques. The experimental hypothesis was that BPA was leaching out of the packaging material and entering the fruit juice and that there would be a difference between the two packaging processes with respect to the BPA level.

In total 67 cartons of fruit juice were prepared, 36 using method A and 31 using method B.  After being kept in identical conditions, and at a later identical fixed time period the cartons were opened and the fruit juice analysed for BPA using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) via the agency of an accredited analytical chemistry laboratory.

The problem

The FSA needs to know what is the evidence, based on the level of BPA in the fruit juice, whether there is a difference between the two carton packaging processes. It is your task to report on this question. You have been presented with data from the 67 analysed packages of fruit juice. Three variables are presented below (Table 1): the sample identifier number, the BPA concentration (in µg/L), and the type of packaging process/method.

TABLE 1

BPA concentrations (µg/L) in fruit juice following packaging by two methods

ID

[BPA] µg/L

Method

1

9.49

A

2

5.50

A

3

5.59

A

4

3.47

A

5

5.87

A

6

6.05

A

7

9.17

A

8

1.95

A

9

2.79

A

10

8.21

A

11

5.33

A

12

4.43

A

13

4.84

A

14

3.94

A

15

2.22

A

16

4.41

A

17

5.26

A

18

5.55

A

19

4.39

A

20

4.47

A

21

6.39

A

22

4.45

A

23

6.19

A

24

4.09

A

25

8.39

A

26

5.89

A

27

6.82

A

28

5.44

A

29

7.47

A

30

1.98

A

31

6.58

A

32

4.51

A

33

5.34

A

34

7.63

A

35

10.17

A

36

4.77

A

37

3.27

B

38

10.24

B

39

3.89

B

40

8.49

B

41

5.91

B

42

6.71

B

43

5.54

B

44

7.88

B

45

3.62

B

46

7.75

B

47

5.46

B

48

6.94

B

49

7.36

B

50

6.41

B

51

7.06

B

52

4.73

B

53

4.95

B

54

6.33

B

55

9.41

B

56

3.79

B

57

7.64

B

58

7.72

B

59

7.78

B

60

6.30

B

61

7.81

B

62

7.50

B

63

5.61

B

64

3.95

B

65

8.72

B

66

7.14

B

67

6.29

B

Your task

You are required to produce a coherent, concise, professionally presented and structured report which informs the FSA whether or not there is genuine evidence that the two packaging processes differ from each other in terms of the extent of BPA leaching.  In concluding the report you cannot assume that the FSA understands statistical methods in detail and you will therefore have to summarise your findings in plain non-technical language. The total length of the report should be no longer than 3 pages in length and contain no more than 1250 words (excluding cover page, table and figure contents/captions, in-text citations and references – appendices are not permitted).

You are expected to:

  • introduce the type of question you are facing including hypothesis testing
  • produce appropriate descriptive and/or graphical (fully formatted) summaries of the data
  • justify your choice of statistical test
  • undertake the correct statistical tests
  • fully interpret statistical test output
  • consider the design of the study
  • arrive at brief and clear conclusions that directly address the problem

Solution:

INTRODUCTION

In the present report, an investigation is done on two fruit juice carton packaging techniques, to test if the quality of food is affected by same. The both techniques used cardboard coated process that involves BPA (Bisphenol A – 4,4' propane 2,2 -diphenol). This chemical contains mimicking oestrogen which affect the quality of food protects and impact severely on health as well. To conduct this test a hypothesis is created in following way -

Null Hypothesis (H0):

  1. “BPA was leaching out of the packaging material and entering the fruit juice, that adversely affect the fruit juice”.
  2. “There would be a significant difference between two packaging process of food packaging with respect to BPA level”.

Alternative Hypothesis (H1):

  1. “BPA was not leaching out of the packaging material and therefore, do not enter in the fruit juice, that adversely affect the fruit juice”.
  2. “There would not be a significant difference between two packaging process of food packaging with respect to BPA level”.

 Justification of choice of statistical test

In order to check the feasibility of study or hypothesis, descriptive measures as statistical methods have been used. It includes mean, median, mode and other SPSS values. These values help in determining either null hypothesis needs to be rejected or accepted in a critical condition. Under such condition, if value of test at 95% of confidence of interval is obtained above 1 then null hypothesis is rejected, otherwise accepted. SPSS survey refers to a revolutionary software method which is used for analysing, transforming and interpreting the result in a systematic manner. As in present case, two samples are going to be compared for obtaining result, therefore, under this method t-test is mainly used. It is used for evaluating the difference between two these two sample types, while regression analysis is used for finding out the relationship.

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