March 27, 2020
Scott Coates of AOAC

In a full-day program held at the 2020 Midyear Meeting, AOAC INTERNATIONAL’s Analytical Solutions Forum (ASF) highlighted the comprehensive and integrated nature of AOAC’s science activities. Beyond standards and method development, the Science Program encompasses validation protocols, proficiency testing, and training and education. This session also reinforced the ASF’s role as an idea incubator and AOAC’s renewed commitment to actively engage its Communities and Sections to bring to light emerging analytical challenges.

The Forum at this year’s Midyear Meeting provided an opportunity for stakeholders to get the latest on:

Core programs: Presentations on the 2020 strategic vision for each of AOAC INTERNATIONAL’s core programs and where each program, separately and as an integrated team, is focusing in the coming year.

Horizon scanning: Recent activities of the ASF Steering Committee from each of their respective communities. The members also shared take-aways from their recent outreach to Dr. Frans Verstraete, Deputy Head of Unit for Food Safety, Directorate General Health and Food Safety, the European Commission Health and Consumers Directorate-General. He described the European Union’s need for good methods and science before regulations can be put into place e.g. regulatory levels for surveillance, compliance and enforcement. Such challenges include glyphosate residue detection, pesticide and veterinary drug residues analyses, detection methods for modified mycotoxins, and sampling science.

Global perspectives (Asia-Pacific): In the plenary, attendees heard from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Megan Crowe, an administrator for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Partnership Training Institute Network’s Food Safety Cooperation Forum. As a complement to the needs within the EU discussed earlier, this presentation detailed the mission of the APEC PTIN FSCF and highlighted the unique food safety challenges facing this region of the world. Examples included the complex global food supply chain, rising levels of food trade between developed and developing economies, differing levels of adherence to international agreements (WTO SPS/TBT) and standards (Codex) and the approaches needed to meet them.

Emerging issues: An afternoon session focused on four out of the many emerging gaps in analytical capabilities important to ensure food, feed and environmental safety. These include presentations on the current analytical capabilities and limitations to detect glyphosate and its principal residues in raw agricultural products and ingredients.

  • Glyphosate, led by Katerina Mastovska, Eurofins-Food Integrity and Innovation and Graham Yearwood, R&D Director, Eurofins Abraxis
  • Mycotoxins by Kai Zhang, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Yuan (Susie) Dai, University of Iowa, Co-chair, AOAC Mycotoxins Community
  • Natural Food Colors by Bhakti Petigara, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Mark Goldschmidt, Sensient Technologies
  • Future Analytical Challenges for Cannabis and Hemp by Julia Bramante, Lead Scientist, Marijuana Reference Laboratory, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Next steps: Following up on emerging issues identified in the 2019 ASF, the Forum featured separate sessions on vaping and using genomic applications for botanical authenticity. These sessions provided more depth and highlighted the role AOAC INTERNATIONAL can potentially play.