Attendees of the hybrid 2021 AOAC Annual Meeting received daily show briefs containing photos and highlights from the previous day, along with the day’s schedule, updates and reminders, and more. If you missed the annual meeting or attended and missed any of the daily emails, the highlights for each day are included below.
Please note that each day only includes highlights of a few of the sessions and events that took place, rather than a comprehensive overview. Click here to view the full schedule from the meeting.
Jump to a Day:
We kicked off the 2021 Annual Meeting with day one of the Analytical Solutions Forum (ASF). Packed with thought-provoking discussion and “thinking outside the box”, it featured presentations from Michael Sussman of the USDA/AMS and Sandrine Espeillac of ISO TC34 on international capacity building for food safety, plus Liang Cheng-Zhu of China and Andrew Pearson of New Zealand highlighting emerging food safety concerns in these regions and programs being developed to meet these new challenges.
The second half of the day included updates on AOAC’s Research Institute, Laboratory Proficiency Testing Program, and Official Methods Program from AOAC staff. Finally, the ASF Steering Committee joined both in person and virtually for an open discussion on the future of the ASF, AOAC, and food safety and analytical science in general.
Focused on emerging issues – timely topics of high importance and that have great potential to impact global public health, food safety and trade. Presentations included:
Gave a history of the program, overview of three new working groups, an overview of standards development, and discussions on overcoming the challenges associated with validation, reference sequences, databases and materials, and statistical confidence. The working groups are:
Two draft SMPRs were considered:
In addition, co-chairs Francesca Guiffrida and Martin van Gool launched the sn-2 Fatty Acids Working Group, Liang Cheng-Zu provided a regional perspective on food safety challenges in China, Darryl Sullivan provided updates on CODEX and upcoming reviews of amino acids, tryptophan, and Vitamin B12 methods, and Dustin Starkey provided a progress report on the AOAC ERP on Sweetness, which plans to establish a working group and develop an opinion paper. Marcel de Vreeze and Aurélie Dubois gave updates on the AOAC-IDF-ISO Collaboration, Martine van Gool gave a review of Single-Laboratory Validation (SLV) Guidelines, Melissa Phillips gave an update on the NIST reference materials, and Arlene Fox gave an update on the AOAC LPTP. Finally, Darryl Sullivan updated the group on methods and ERPs within the program.
Gave a history and overview of the program, SMPR orientation, overview of the AOAC Research Institute programs (PTM, OMA, ERV, and TME programs), and reports from the program working groups:
Opened with an introduction to AOAC’s newest program. Tom Hammock of the US FDA gave a presentation on non-culturable organisms, followed by Jennifer McEntire of United Fresh providing an industry perspective of the analytical challenges presented by non-culturable food-borne pathogens associated with fresh produce. Next, Prasant Prusty of Pathogenia presented on laboratory methods for non-culturable organisms and Paul in’t Veld of Dutch Accreditation Council presented on efforts for developing standards for the validation of methods for microbial pathogens and the unique challenges of validating methods for non-culturable organisms from sampling through confirmation and enumeration.
The meeting concluded with a summary and discussion of anticipated bottlenecks faced as AIMS begins to work in this area, led by AOAC Technical Consultant Maria Nelson, including sampling, reference materials (reference sequences and reference methods), and validation difficulties.
Began with an introduction and overview of the program and its goals, followed by updates from the program working groups:
Finally, a discussion was held on Emerging Issues Management, in which Tom Seipelt of Abbott Nutrition and Hugh Rand of the US FDA introduced the program that will respond to emergencies in the food sector, including an overview and risk assessment.
Opened with an introduction and description of purpose and scope of work of the program, followed by an update on the development of validation guidelines for the program.
Finally, Samuel Godefroy led a roundtable discussion on best practices for development of incurred/in-house samples.
As part of its continued horizon-scanning activities, the Analytical Solutions Forum (ASF) at the featured this session that explored how “blue sky thinking” can bring new and novel smart technologies into the food processing arena to address complex food safety challenges. This includes the incorporation of sensing devices to provide real-time quality assessments. Such advances can ultimately include pathogen sensing and identification in real time.
AOAC Executive Director David B. Schmidt and President Erin Crowley opened the session with a recap of AOAC accomplishments and initiatives from the past year. Then, Schmidt presented a variety of AOAC awards to scientists and students to honor their contributions to analytical science – view the full list of awardees here.
Finally, keynote speaker Dr. Temple Grandin presented her keynote address on how different kinds of minds – visual, mathematical, analytical, and more – contribute to innovation in science. She spoke about her background and how her highly visual mind has provided a unique perspective throughout her life and career. She also emphasized the importance of collaborating with people who think in different ways, to ensure problems are considered from varying angles. She emphasized the importance of observation in science and that educators need to nurture different ways of thinking to encourage innovation.
2021 Wiley Award winner Dr. Katerina Mastovska spoke about how her passion for food analysis began early in life due to the influence of her parents’ careers in the field. She emphasized the importance of hands-on experience, mentorship, and community, thanking many of those she has worked with in her research.
Mastovska addressed a few of the challenges she has faced in her career and ways she has addressed those challenges, such as:
Following Mastovska’s address, the Wiley Award Symposium, “High-End Food Analysis for a Healthy Life” featured four topics and speakers:
AOAC staff and technical consultants provided an overview of the standards and methods process, including:
The session also dove into the Analytical Solutions Forum, the SMPR development process, AOAC’s consulting services, and more.
Improvement and maintenance of lab quality is critical to assure the accuracy and reliability of analytical results. Concern for quality covers all aspects of methodology, from design and planning, sampling and sample preparation, analysis and data processing, selection and use of reference and internal standards, computation and evaluation of results, and finally, overall assessment of the process. This symposium covered aspects of bioinformatics for target assessment, accurate sampling and preparation, consideration of food safety methods, and evaluation of nonconformities and root cause analysis.
AOAC recently made a commitment to spotlight and strengthen its 17 volunteer communities, each of which provides a forum for stakeholders to cross-pollinate ideas and stay abreast of the latest developments in their areas of interest. This session featured three communities:
In a race to keep up with the light-speed growth of the budding cannabinoid industry, companies are working to increase their scale of production. With increased quantities and increased scrutiny, the need for more accessible analytical tools in quality control have become a high point of discussion. This session’s speakers are from several companies working to bring the power of the lab to the end user in novel, user-friendly and, most importantly, much more timely ways. The session covered in-house lab grade equipment, at-home genetic testing, mobile spectroscopic testing, and the pains that have been taken behind the scenes to ensure reliability in the field.
Cannabis is used both medically and recreationally and is generally provided as plant material, concentrates and edibles. There is a great need for regulatory requirements to establish a way to measure and establish baseline values that will meet both state and federal laws. This session focused on several of the most important analytical processes that directly influence the quality of testing marijuana and hemp. NIST provided updates in their efforts to screen potential candidate materials to be used as reference materials and shared the status of the NIST Cannabis Quality Assurance Program (CannaQAP) which was designed to improve the comparability of the analytical measurements in cannabis testing laboratories.
As the global demand for quality including safety in food and natural products increases, so does the need for robust testing methods to determine quality, purity, and authenticity, in support of food safety and quality management systems. These factors underpin the inherent benefits of natural ingredients and pose a challenge for controls embedded in management systems. Magnetic resonance has been proven as a cost-effective, molecular diagnostic tool for food and natural ingredient identification and authentication, within many sectors including wine, coffee, honey, botanicals, cannabis, and dairy products. This suite of presentations on selected applications of magnetic resonance in food and natural products provided a broad overview of the technology, including fit-for-purpose examples of utility within industry and a deep dive into the science.
This session demonstrated how to improve results for microbial analysis, both qualitative and quantitative. First, the importance and problems of traditional species identification were discussed, and current DNA based species identification was introduced. Second, new and unique species identification using mass spectrometric technique (MALDI-MAS proteotyping) and its application was shown. Finally, a novel DNA standard with exact copy numbers to develop detection systems and analytical methods in low copy number applications was shown. The speakers detailed the use of standards for accurate analysis in mycology and microbiology.
The business meeting provides an opportunity for AOAC programs and technical divisions to provide reports on their progress over the last year and goals for the year ahead. President Erin Crowley reported on three key themes:
Executive Director David Schmidt highlighted another three themes to summarize the organization’s progress over the last year:
Other reports featured the Official Methods Program, Editorial Board, Technical Programming Council, TDRM, TDLM, Analytical Solutions Forum, Research Institute, and Proficiency Testing Program.
The 2021 First-Time Poster Presenter Awards were presented to the following five awardees (their posters can be seen by clicking the poster titles):
Finally, Erin Crowley recognized outgoing board members Clay Detlefsen and Henry Chin, and officially passed the president’s gavel to Tony Lupo, beginning his presidential term. Tony welcomed the incoming board members: