2016 AOAC Annual Meeting Highlights: Celebrating 132 Years of Analytical Excellence

This year marks the 132nd anniversary of an Association that continues to successfully deliver consensus-based standards and fit-for-purpose methods most needed by the analytical sciences community. Perhaps the best example of AOAC’s important work can be seen at the AOAC Annual Meeting and Exposition, where members’ passion for science is unsurpassed.

“We were all blown away by the thoroughness and scrutiny of the methods,” said Justin Trout, COO/Co-Founder of Health-Ade LLC, an AOAC Organizational Affiliate (OA) supporting the kombucha project. “That type of responsible action is precisely why we came to AOAC in the first place. It was wonderful to see so many sharp and caring minds in the room working to solve our industry’s biggest problem.”

On September 18-21, 2016, more than 850 members, stakeholders, industry leaders, among others from around the world participated in the 130th AOAC Annual Meeting and Exposition in Dallas, Texas, USA. The AOAC Annual Meeting featured innovations in science and presentations from preeminent leaders in the global sciences community. This year’s meeting featured over 295 poster presentations, 65 exhibiting companies, 30 scientific sessions, exhibitor/partner presentations, preconference stakeholder meetings, working group meetings, and expert review panels (ERPs), as well as committee, community, and Section meetings.

Norma Hill, then-president of AOAC, kicked off the opening session by reflecting on the past year, which was focused on achieving growth and maintaining AOAC’s relevance. She advocated the value of the working group initiative and international outreach efforts, for example. Hill credits the Association’s success to the expertise of its volunteers.

“This has been an absolutely outstanding year for AOAC, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished,” Hill said. “You are what we have to offer. You have the passion and expertise that give us credibility. Thank you for your volunteerism and hard work, and thank you for the privilege of serving as your president.”

AOAC Executive Director James Bradford added that the support of OAs has and continues to be vital to the Association’s growth and success. He reported that Eurofins joined as the newest OA at the Annual Meeting, bringing the total to 55 OAs--the highest for AOAC to date. Bradford’s vision is to continue to secure more OAs. “With industry support, we can advance AOAC standards development activities in priority areas identified by stakeholders.”

Keynote speaker Gregory Noonan, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, stressed the importance of AOAC’s continued participation in Codex committees in ensuring that newly developed methods are properly considered by Codex. He provided AOAC and attendees with valuable insight on the process of getting methods implemented into Codex.

Wiley Award winner Jana Hajslová, Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague, Czech Republic, reflected on the technical advancements and challenges in food quality, safety, and authenticity control. The field of food analysis has progressed significantly and advances in instrumentation have contributed to improved consumer health and protection.

Among other highlights of the AOAC Annual Meeting included stakeholder, working group, and ERP activities related to dietary supplements, infant formula, and food safety. Stakeholder panels and working groups met on September 16-18, 2016, just prior to the opening of the Annual Meeting. Major outcomes included:

* Official MethodSM for ethanol in kombucha

* Official MethodSM for lutein and β-carotene in infant formula and adult nutritionals

* Official MethodSM for fructans in infant formula and adult nutritionals

* Official MethodSM for quantification of whey protein content in infant formulas

* Standard Method Performance Requirements (SMPRs®) for determination of meat-derived proteins

* SMPR for determination of plant-derived proteins

* SMPR for identification of meat-derived proteins

* SMPR for identification of plant-derived proteins

* SMPR for quantitative measurement of vitamin B12 in dietary supplements and ingredients

* Method modification of Official MethodSM 2011.19 (Chromium, Selenium, and Molybdenum in Infant Formula and Adult Nutritional Products)

* Final Action Official MethodsSM recommendations for 2012.01 (Gliadin as a Measure of Gluten in Rice- and Corn-Based Foods); 2014.01 (Salmonella in Selected Foods, 3M™ Petrifilm™ Salmonella Express System); 2014.02 (Vitamin B12 in Infant Formula and Adult/Pediatric Formulas); 2014.05 (Enumeration of Yeast and Mold in Food, 3M™ Petrifilm™ Rapid Yeast and Mold Count Plate); and 2015.06 (Minerals and Trace Elements in Infant Formula and Adult/Pediatric Nutritional Formula)

* Downselection for potential Final Action consideration: lutein and β-carotene in infant formula and adult nutritionals


In addition, the AOAC Stakeholder Panel on Dietary Supplements (SPDS) introduced and began standards development activities by initiating working groups for amino acids, ginger, and vitamin K, with stakeholder endorsement of fitness-for-purpose statements for each. Draft SMPRs are underway.

Standards development activities were also introduced and begun for proanthocyanidins in cranberry products and for cannabis potency. The AOAC Stakeholder Panel on Strategic Foods Analytical Methods (SPSFAM) endorsed fitness-for-purpose statements for each, and draft SMPRs are underway.

“The AOAC Annual Meeting captures the energy and spirit of our members and volunteers,” said Bradford. “AOAC is at the forefront of setting standards and delivering Official MethodsSM, and continues to be relevant because we are delivering standards and methods that our stakeholders have identified as most important to their industries. Our success is dependent on the involvement of our stakeholders, members, and volunteers. We thank you for making this year's meeting another success.”

Advances made at the Annual Meeting will continue throughout fall/winter 2016, culminating in stakeholder, working group, and ERP meetings held at the AOAC Mid-Year Meeting on March 13-17, 2017, in Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA.

Full coverage of the 130th AOAC Annual Meeting is scheduled for the November/December 2016 issue of Inside Laboratory Management.