AOAC’s Analytical International Methods and Standards (AIMS) program is designed to provide standards for microbial pathogen detection that will incorporate novel and emerging technologies.


AOAC’s International Stakeholder Panel on Alternative Methods (ISPAM) was established in 2011 to develop harmonized, internationally accepted standard validation guidelines for alternative (rapid) chemical and microbiological methods, and to achieve optimal efficiency and avoid duplication of efforts for the validation of proprietary methods. This broadly defined stakeholder panel consisted of over 200 stakeholders and six working groups to focus on specific topics such as microbiological and chemistry validation criteria, fresh produce, allergens, and statistics. ISPAM was sunset in 2019.

To maintain a comprehensive scientific portfolio and place greater emphasis on horizon scanning efforts, while ensuring continuity with current microbiological needs, AOAC is now launching the AIMS program. It is designed to be a multi-year, self-sustaining umbrella program for projects that will focus on delivering analytical solutions for current capability gaps in laboratory testing, responding to emerging microbial threats to food safety, and developing standards for the use of cutting-edge diagnostic technologies and applications.

Scope and Objectives

The program will address the following areas:

  • Alternative method development criteria for emerging microbial contaminants (non-culturable)
  • Validation criteria for evaluation of alternative (proprietary) methods
  • Novel, recently recognized food, feed, and environmental matrices
  • Emergency response procedures to address new and immediate public health threats
  • Advanced molecular applications, bioinformatics, and biotechnology opportunities
  • Cutting-edge analytical technologies
  • Reference method review and harmonization
  • Training and educational outreach on all aspects related to the above

For a list of proposed projects, view the program prospectus.

Get Involved

AOAC is seeking a wide variety of stakeholders, volunteers, and financial support to support the AIMS program, which launched in March 2022. The early-phase vision of AIMS is to create two working groups that will work together on:

  • New technologies that will need to be adapted for methods that address the challenges of foodborne non-culturable microorganisms
  • Validation criteria that align with other existing standards

Benefits for participating in AIMS include:

  • Developing strategies and priorities to address the analytical challenges presented by important, emerging non-culturable food-borne microorganisms, 
  • Providing consensus-driven, internationally aligned validation criteria for analytical methods to meet regional and internationally adopted regulatory requirements, 
  • Developing standards and methods to protect producers and consumers alike to maintain the reputation of products and ultimately improve the quality and safety of the food supply, and
  • Reviewing new technologies and addressing emerging challenges, e.g., advanced molecular applications, bioinformatics, and biotechnology.