January 16, 2020

Updated May 14, 2020

In the past 10 years, as cannabis industry leaders have focused their energies on building new supply chains, the explosive market growth and expanding array of hemp-based products has exposed a critical gap: a reliable testing infrastructure.

Producers and manufacturers are scrambling to meet expectations for quality and regulatory compliance. This is particularly critical in the lab, as businesses strive not just to establish credibility with consumers, but also to meet the numerous requirements of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the rigorous cannabinoid testing standards for hemp specified in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Cannabis testing labs have proliferated, but rigorous analytical science concepts like consensus standards, validated methods, proficiency testing and laboratory accreditation are still not well understood.

In response, AOAC has formed a Cannabis Analytical Science Program (CASP) Working Group to look at ways to provide stakeholders with training and information to meet these challenges. The goal of the CASP Training and Education Working Group will be to develop courses to bring lab scientists testing hemp and cannabis up to date in analytical science best practices, such as fundamentals of method validation, chemistry and microbiology methodology and control, and laboratory accreditation requirements and process. In addition to classwork, the courses could include hands-on training in the lab.

Currently, the CASP program is soliciting a Chair for the new working group. In the next few months participants will detail courses and identify instructors, with a goal of launching the courses at the AOAC INTERNATIONAL Annual Meeting or shortly after.