May 1, 2020

AOAC’s third Analytical Methods Week delivered First Action Official Method of AnalysisSM approval for eagerly awaited methods for cannabinoids in hemp, flavanols in chocolate, and veterinary drug residues in a broad variety of foods.

The week kicked off on Monday, April 20, 2020 with more than 35 volunteers participating in AOAC’s orientation for Expert Review Panel (ERP) participants. The primary topics were new methods adoption and requirements for changing the action status of Official Methods.

That afternoon, an ERP for Cannabinoid Methods reviewed five methods for detecting and measuring cannabinoids. A modification of a method by Eurofins, “Cannabinoids in Cannabis Dried Plant Materials, Concentrates, and Oils,” was reviewed with the goal of extending its scope from cannabis to hemp to meet Standard Method Performance Requirements (SMPR ®) 2019.003 for cannabinoids in hemp. A method extension and modification to AOAC 2018.11 were approved and will provide valuable analytical support to meeting USDA Hemp Program Interim Final Rule guidelines. Read the press release >

On Tuesday, the ERP for Flavanol Methods reviewed a resubmitted manuscript to confirm new method adoption. The panel decided that a proposed revision to AOAC 2012.24 (Flavanol and Procyanidin (by Degree of Polymerization 1–10) of Chocolate, Cocoa Liquors, Powder(s), and Cocoa Flavanol Extracts) was a major modification and was suitable enough to be a new method. Hence, the ERP adopted the resubmitted revision as a new method. The ERP will consider a recommendation on next steps for AOAC 2012.24 as this newer method provides significant improvements.

That afternoon, AOAC’s Food Authenticity Methods working groups (Nontargeted Testing and Targeted Testing) both met and reconciled public comments on the draft SMPRs that were posted and reviewed during the AOAC Midyear Meeting. These SMPRs focus on three commodities: honey, bovine milk and extra virgin olive oil. It was agreed to post a revised version of the Targeted Testing SMPRs for another round of comments before the final draft. The 3 SMPRs were designed to provide methods for the detection and identification of the following ingredients used to adulterate the following three food commodities for EMA:

  • Targeted analysis of formalin/formaldehyde, starch and soy protein as adulterants in liquid raw bovine milk;
  • Targeted testing of other vegetable oils and low-quality olive oils as adulterants for evaluation of extra virgin olive oils;
  • Targeted testing of barley and malt extract, beet sugar syrup, corn and cane sugar syrup, C-4 plant sugar and high fructose corn sugar as adulterants in floral and acacia honey

The SMPRs for Non-Targeted Testing will be sent out for approval by ballot.

A Food Authenticity Methods Program webinar is being planned for June 2, 2020. Register now >

Wednesday’s activities expanded the analytical science toolkit for infant formula and adult nutritionals with a continuation of the review of a suite of vitamin methods in Chapter 50 of the Official Methods of Analysis of AOAC INTERNATIONAL.  The session, moderated by SPIFAN Chair Darryl Sullivan, discussed method review surveys completed by the working group chairs and reconciled the survey results for each set of nutrient methods to outline scopes for the next steps needed to make recommendations on the methods.

Later that afternoon, the ERP for Low Lactose Methods reviewed two methods from Eurofins and from Biolan that were resubmitted based on the September 2019 ERP meeting. These were “Lactose, free and low, Profile by High Performance Anion Exchange Chromatography with Pulsed Amperometric Detection (HPAEC-PAD)” and “Lactose in Low Lactose Containing Milk and Milk Products by electrochemical biosensor technology.” Both methods were adopted as First Action Official Methods of Analysis, with changes. Next steps will include development of a validation protocol that will meet the requirements of AOAC, ISO, and IDF for interlaboratory study.

On Thursday, AOAC’s ERP for Heavy Metals in Food Methods reviewed a candidate method, “HVYM-010, Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometric Determination of Arsenic, Cadmium, Chromium, Lead, Mercury, and Other Elements in Food Using Microwave Assisted Digestion,” and made recommendations for revising the method for resubmission and review. The method was evaluated against SMPR 2012.0007, previously developed to help solicit a quality method for this purpose. The approval of the method is pending a re-submission to address formatting along with providing additional validation data.

Another ERP, for Dietary Starch and Fiber Methods, discussed a recommendation for potential action status change to AOAC 2017.16, “Total Dietary Fiber in Food and Food Ingredients by Rapid Integrated Enzymatic-Gravimetric– High-Pressure Liquid Chromatography Method.”  During the meeting, members discussed the removal of lactose and isomaltose.  This discussion led to the method author agreeing to add a footnote to the method pending a brief experimental to ensure that the footnote is accurate.  The ERP will review the revised manuscript electronically pending the study outcomes.

AOAC’s Official Methods Board (OMB) also met on Thursday to discuss the 2020 OMB Awards; OMB working group activities; revisions to the OMB Terms of Reference and for the Committee on Safety; and changes to the Committee on Statistics roster. Highlights of their meeting included vetting and approving new members to the Committee on Statistics; review of revised OMB Terms of Reference; and consideration of review of OMA.

The last day started with the inaugural meeting of a new AOAC ERP for Sulfites in Seafood Methods. The ERP reviewed a candidate method for First Action Official Methods status for a Sulfites in Shrimp method submitted by Biolan. The ERP is still reviewing the method.

Analytical Methods Week ended with the ERP for Veterinary Drug Residues approving for First Action status a resubmitted method, “154 Veterinary Drug Residues in Animal Source Foods by LC-MS/MS” submitted by Nestle.  All ERP members did agree that the resubmission fulfilled all of the requirements established by the ERP during its initial review.  The ERP adopted the method as First Action Official Method of Analysis.  This ERP will review a validation protocol for the multi-laboratory testing required for the method.

Joe Boison, chair of the ERP that reviewed and approved the method, highlighted its importance: “This is the first multi-residue laboratory method to be given AOAC’s OMA designation of First Action Official Method status. I am elated and gratified that we have been able to achieve this milestone in the veterinary drug residue analytical community.

“With this recognition, members in the veterinary drug residues analysis community now have a multi-residue method for veterinary drug residues that they can just replicate in their laboratory for regulating food production requirements and for supporting veterinary drug residue monitoring and enforcement programs.

“Additionally, it is hoped that once the method is subjected to additional multi-laboratory studies to generate reproducibility data to achieve Final Action status that it can be used in dispute resolution cases to facilitate international trade involving food animal products. Our hope and expectation is that more authors will be submitting more multi-residue veterinary drug residue methods for review and designation as Official First Action/Final Action Status Methods.  Read the press release >