AOAC’s traditional “changing of the guard” at the Annual Meeting continued this year at the 133rd AOAC INTERNATIONAL Annual Meeting in Denver as leadership passed to a new Board of Directors for 2019-2020. See the new Board >
In an interview shortly after being sworn in, incoming President Henry Chin, Ph.D. shared his thoughts on AOAC.
AOAC: How did you get involved in AOAC?
Chin: I’ve been involved with AOAC for probably 40 years or more. I got involved with AOAC because it was the place to go for the critical work of ensuring analytical methods measure things accurately.
It’s critical because almost everything we do in life depends on having measurements we have confidence in; whether you’re a business buying or selling goods, a government regulating products, or a consumer. The bottom line is safety, for foods, beverages, dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals…almost anything.
AOAC: Where does AOAC fit in that effort?
Chin: AOAC is strongly recognized around the world for its process. I can remember traveling overseas, being amazed because even though I was traveling with senior people from a major organization, what mattered more to the people I met internationally was my affiliation with AOAC.
I think sometimes AOAC is underappreciated closer to home — sometimes even the volunteers can underappreciate it — until you get out into the broader community and see the how strongly the organization is valued.
AOAC: You mentioned volunteers. AOAC runs on volunteers, doesn’t it?
Chin: I’m so impressed by the dedication of AOAC volunteers. They put in many hours of work, not just on committees but also laboratory time working on methods, or doing technical reviews.
Volunteers participate for many reasons. One is professional advancement – they’re going to learn things from working with other scientists that it’s very difficult to do on their own. The networks in AOAC are phenomenal. For some people, it’s a chance to network with others outside their organization, or enhance their visibility, both within their organization and external to their org. AOAC offers those opportunities.
President Henry Chin is also a past President of AOAC (2004-2005), and was a Chair of the Methods Committee on Pesticide Residues in Foods and a member of the Official Methods Board. He is an expert on the analysis and risk assessment of food contaminants and has a strong interest in developing better ways to communicate about food safety and understanding the impact of social advocacy on regulatory policy.
In addition to his decades-long contribution to AOAC, Henry has played a leadership role in many other organizations including USP’s Hazard Identification and Food Adulteration Expert Panels, the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Food, the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), and others.
In 2013, Dr. Chin retired as Senior Director, Global Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at The Coca-Cola Company. Prior to joining Coca-Cola in 2005, he was with the National Food Processors Association (NFPA) for nearly 30 years, providing scientific and technical advice to most of the major food companies in the United States. He currently assists several organizations as an independent consultant and advisor on food safety and regulatory affairs.