CASP’s working groups have been making significant progress. View the February update below, or view the full CASP newsletter >
The Cannabinoids in Consumables Working Group, chaired by Dr. Holly Johnson of APHA, completed a draft guidance document, Laboratory guidance for drying field‐fresh hemp plant samples in preparation for determination of total THC on a dry‐weight basis. This document was posted for a 30‐day public comment period which ended on December 4, 2020. Comments have been collated and sent to the working group Chair for reconciliation, and the responses to those comments will be included in the final e‐ballot for this document. Since then, the group has begun work on an SMPR for cannabinoids in beverages as part of the new ‘matrix‐centric’ approach to SMPR development. The group has agreed to incorporate the US regulatory definition for beverages and has developed an extensive list of different beverage types that may be used for this SMPR. Alcoholic beverages will not be in scope. At their next meeting they will address the perforamnce requirements table, the list of cannabinoids, and validation guidance.
The Chemical Contaminants Working Group, chaired by Dr. Julie Kowalski of JA Kowalski Science Support, has made significant progress in the development of a quantitative SMPR for mycotoxins in cannabis. At their last meeting, this group had an extensive discussion on the definition for limit of quantitation (LOQ). They will discuss the remaining definitions and other sections of the SMPR at their next meeting. After this document is completed, the group will join the Cannabinoids Working Group in moving towards a product‐centric approach.
The Microbial Contaminants Working Group, chaired by Julia Bramante of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, is currently working to finalize a draft SMPR titled Standard Method Performance Requirements for Total Yeast and Mold. The group met on January 12, 2021 and agreed that a cocktail of five organisms will be used for the SMPR – two yeast, two molds, and the fifth can be either and will be left up to the developer. They also discussed decontamination of materials and suggested that the CASP Advisory Panel may want to consider if guidelines for decontamination of cannabis flower is something the program should consider. Most recently the group met on February 2, when they agreed to list contamination levels as low, medium or high instead of specifying a level, because these levels could vary depending on the state or region. This was followed by a deep dive discussion into the validation guidance section. The group will meet to discuss this SMPR at least one more time to conclude the discussion on validation guidance, specifically the cultural contamination step and guidance around an unpaired study and evaluating the suitability of whatever media is used in the candidate method.
The sub‐groups of the Proficiency Testing Working Group, chaired by Dr. Walter Brent Wilson of NIST, have been meeting to determine the technical requirements for a proficiency testing program. Discussions have included not only testing for CBD and THC, but also for moisture, and contaminants including pesticides. A schedule of upcoming 2021
subgroup meetings is currently being completed and will include new areas such as microbials and residual solvents. An email asking members if they would like to join any of these new subgroups will be sent soon. AOAC staff is also currently putting together the information required to select advisory task force members.
The CASP Education and Training working group is excited to bring the first installment of virtual educational seminar sessions to the extended AOAC CASP stakeholder group. Join one, or all, of the sessions to learn about the cannabis & hemp testing ecosystem that supports a market estimated to approach $25B by 2025. Subject matter experts will present their insight into a variety of topics that are common across the legal US and International markets and conclude each session with a live Q&A to engage further with the audience.
Dr. Toby Astill leads this group and has been working with the sub‐groups to develop these seminars on the following topics: setting up a cannabis lab, microbial testing, heavy metals testing, mycotoxins testing and pesticides. Registration information will be forthcoming.