August 26, 2020

NOTE: Register by 10:00am ET on Monday, September 7 to access the virtual platform on Day 1 of the meeting!

The AOAC 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting September 8-24, 2020 features a strong program created around  “Building the Future of Analytical Science.” Here are just some of the cutting-edge topics being discussed:

COVID-19: Detection of novel coronavirus to safeguard the food industry

The events of the COVID-19 pandemic are now moving beyond concerns solely for the performance and reliability of clinical testing to now include those for contact surface testing. As manufacturers in the food industry begin their phased-in re-opening processes, questions are now being focused on the ability to detect the presence and viability of the virus on contact surfaces to mitigate any possible transmission of the virus along the food chain. This Hot Topic Symposium, “Food and Food Contact Surface Testing in the Era of COVID-19,” is chaired by past AOAC President Michael Brodsky and will examine the challenges for detecting retroviruses in foods, water and on contact surfaces and review current virus detection methodologies.

Analytical Strategies to Characterize Vaping Products

This session, chaired by Matthew Noestheden of Supra Research and Development, deals with a new product category (e.g., e-cigarettes and related vaporization products, including cannabis products) that has been developed without appropriate regulatory oversight. As a direct result, thousands of people have developed serious respiratory illnesses and at least 47 people have died. Recent events and media attention have precipitated proposed legislative changes that range from banning e-cigarettes to a more focused attempt to ban flavored products with the goal of discouraging the use of e-cigarettes by young consumers. In “Analytical Strategies to Characterize Products Intended for Inhalation After High-Temperature Vaporization,” explore current approaches to evaluate these products with the goal of informing AOAC stakeholders how consensus methods could play a role.

How MALDI-TOF and Next Generation Sequencing are Rewriting Industry’s Data Needs

For the global food industry, change is often a slow and difficult process. Despite significant advances, challenges remain in the adoption of new technologies such as MALDI-TOF and NGS for use in routine applications such as food pathogen detection and hygiene monitoring. Chaired by Ramin Khaksar of Clear Labs and Patrick Bird of PMB BioTek Consulting, the session “Beyond Presence and Absence: How Innovative Technology, such as MALDI-TOF and NGS, are Rewriting Industry’s Data Needs” will provide an overview of the new technologies changing microbiology testing, how these methods provide advanced data analysis for industry beyond presence and absence results, the process for regulatory acceptance of nontraditional methods, and how end users can ensure these methods are suitable for use.

CBD/Hemp Testing: Ensuring Harmonization of Standards and Methods from Seed to Sale

For those in the cannabis industry, quality control and analytical accuracy are an essential component in protecting the health and safety of the consumer, and there is increasing demand upon cannabis testing laboratories for analytical determination of multiple cannabinoids, accuracy of potency determination and detection and quantification of contaminants. “The Landscape of CBD/Hemp Testing: Ensuring Harmonization of Standards and Methods from Seed to Sale,” chaired by Erin Crowley of Q Laboratories, will present the current state of analytical test methods and present examples of how industry manufacturers of these products are ensuring quality from seed to sale by method development and partnerships with expert laboratories.

PFAS: The “Forever” Chemicals

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a family of man-made chemicals that are found in a wide range of products used by consumers and industry. The widespread use of PFAS and their ability to remain intact in the environment means that over time PFAS levels from past and current uses can result in increasing levels of environmental contamination. While the science surrounding potential health effects of PFAS is developing, current evidence suggests that the bioaccumulation of certain PFAS may cause serious health conditions. Due to the widespread use of PFAS, background levels as well as the various matrices of concern by federal agencies presents unique analytical challenges. In the session “Methods for the Determination of PFAS by Federal Agencies,” chaired by Dr. Neal Saab of ILSI-NA and Dr. Susan Genauldi of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, various sample preparation and determinative techniques developed by the represented federal agencies will be presented.

Novel Methods for Nano- and Microparticle Contaminants

This session, chaired by Markus Obkircher of MilliporeSigma, focuses on different materials or substance classes that are of increasing global food safety or environmental concern. This session, “Novel Methods for Contaminants,” touches on nano- and microparticles, marine biotoxins, polyfluorinated alkylated substances (PFAS) and elemental impurities.

Ergot Alkaloids: Analytical Considerations for Up and Coming Regulated Mycotoxins

From reports of hallucinations in the Middle Ages to recent lameness and limb loss in livestock issues, ergot alkaloids in contaminated cereal grain and grasses remain a risk. There are demanding aspects to measurement specific to EAs, including point sources of contamination, occurrence as enantiomeric pairs, and epimerization under certain conditions. This symposium, chaired by Sheryl Tittlemier of the Canadian Grain Commission and Mark Sumarah of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, will bring together speakers to present on various aspects of the detection and measurement of EAs, from sampling and sample processing to simple, rapid methods as well as comprehensive mass spectrometric methods.

Establishing Standards for Color Additives from Natural Sources

Internationally, with the consumer demand for ‘natural’ colors increasing, some food manufacturers are turning away from synthetic color additives and towards those from plant extracts or other natural sources. Consistent industry‐wide safety standards are needed to address the manufacturing, processing, application, and international trade of colors from natural sources to ensure quality and safety throughout the supply chain. Methods for microbiological contamination, heavy metals, pesticides, and unauthorized solvents are some of the means to establish these standards. This session, chaired by Bhakti Petigara Harp of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, provides briefings that speak to key potential safety hazards affecting sourcing and challenges on analytical scientific fronts which will further develop our AOAC Community on Color Additives.

Good Food, Beverages and Chemometrics

Food fraud can impact human health and safety, but also compromises the brand integrity of food companies, and erodes consumer confidence and trust. As the global food supply chain has become more complex, the opportunities for counterfeit foods continue to increase. Profiling food can identify and confirm the point of origin, monitor for adulterants or assess quality of products, but testing for good food requires good chemometrics. This session, chaired by James Pyke and Dan Hui Dorothy Yang of Agilent Technologies examines chemometric approaches used with various analytical techniques as they are being applied by the food industry, regulators, and other stakeholders.

Tattoo Inks: Regulatory and Analytical Perspectives

Globally, the safety of tattoo inks has been a subject of interest and has prompted the consideration of regulatory requirements for the tattoo inks as well as their pigment components. Development of analytical methods to determine the composition of the many types of tattoo inks available in the global marketplace has been challenging and complex. “Hot Topic Symposium – Tattoo Inks: Regulatory and Analytical Perspectives,” chaired by Bhakti Petigara Harp and Marianita Perez Gonzalez of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will address the challenges for tattoo inks on both the regulatory and analytical fronts.