AOAC INTERNATIONAL formed the International Stakeholder Panel on Alternative Methods (ISPAM) to develop harmonized, internationally accepted standard validation guidelines for alternative (rapid) chemical and microbiological methods by leveraging global networks of experts to reach consensus on an analytical validation protocol. The goal is to achieve optimal efficiency and avoid duplication of efforts in order to meet regulatory and product safety testing requirements.
In 2013, AOAC identified produce safety as a high priority and added the initiative to ISPAM. In 2013, a Fresh Produce Stakeholder Panel was formed under ISPAM to develop analytical standards for produce safety.
ISPAM is driven and supported by AOAC INTERNATIONAL Organizational Affiliates and AOAC Research Institute Contributing Members who participate in the programs administered by the AOAC Research Institute, which provides independent evaluation of methods and either certifies methods or adopts methods of analysis.
The ISPAM as a whole is made up of 60+ member stakeholders who, at open stakeholder meetings, discuss and deliberate recommendations of smaller working groups that work on the issue of produce safety or harmonizing the various validation guidelines. AOAC has learned that this upfront work by working groups saves a tremendous amount of time and focuses the larger stakeholder panel on consensus decision making rather than discussion of issues.
Only a vetted balanced group and representative stakeholders from industry, government, academia and international organizations, demonstrate stakeholder consensus to approve or not the recommendations of the working groups.