December 18, 2013
GAITHERSBURG, MDAOAC International is trying to enlist the dietary supplement industry to participate in efforts to standardize testing methodologies on dietary ingredients. AOAC, an independent third party, started a partnership with the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements (NIH/ODS) this past September, in an effort to produce 25 standard method performance requirements (SMPR) for priority dietary supplement ingredients, with the goal of achieving Official MethodsSM status. To this end, AOAC plans to hold a series of meetings over the next five years, including advisory panel, stakeholder panel, working group and expert review panel sessions. All stakeholders in the supplement industry are encouraged to attend the first panel meeting this coming spring.
AOAC recently formed a Stakeholder Panel on Dietary Supplements (SPDS), which includes scientific and technical expert participants from industry, academia, government, and other relevant organizations around the world; its inaugural meeting is planned for March 21, 2014, as a part of the AOAC Mid-Year meeting in Gaithersburg. The panel will introduce and begin standards development activities for the first three priority ingredients. Any individual or company with a stake in the dietary supplement industry product manufacturers, analyte/method subject matter experts, technology providers, method developers, government and regulatory agencies, contract research organizations, reference materials developers, ingredient manufacturers, method end users, academia, non-governmental organizations, etc.is encouraged to attend this meeting. AOAC explained the standards-setting process requires a balanced perspective across all areas of the supplement industry, and participation will help ensure the work is relevant and up to date.
"It is important to get involved and to help provide guidance and expertise and develop standards for the analysis of dietary supplements," said Dawn Frazier, AOAC executive for scientific business development.
An advisory panel, comprised of various experts, was formed to identify key stakeholders and analytical issues; to this end, this panel will identify ingredients and set priorities for SPDS. In addition, ingredient-specific working groups will be formed out of the stakeholder panel to develop draft SMPRs. SPDS voting members will review all working group recommendations for final approval.
The SPDS advisory panel includes: Darryl Sullivan (Chair), Covance Laboratories; Joe Betz, NIH; Dan Fabricant/Corey Hilmas, FDA; Gabe Giancaspro, United States Pharmacopeia (USP); Duffy MacKay, Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN); Maged Sharaf, American Herbal Products Association (AHPA); Jay Sirois/Marcia Howard, Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA); and Cara Welch, Natural Products Association (NPA).
Sullivan emphasized the importance of widespread industry participation in this standards-setting process. "Being part of stakeholder panels gives one a voice in driving priorities so that AOAC works on relevant issues most affecting industry," he said. "By participating, you get standards that have been agreed upon and articulated by your industry on how a method needs to perform. Working on an expert review panel (ERP), members get a vote on whether candidate methods acceptably meet these standards, thus ensuring that any Official MethodsSM that may result are fit-for-purpose and perform as expected. Industry gets methods that can help level the playing field when it comes to inferior products."
Frazier noted stakeholder panel members have a credible voice when it comes to reviewing standards. "They can provide expertise on ingredients based on their own personal experience."
Sullivan explained the AOAC stakeholder process removes barriers so leading companies can work together on solving industry-wide issues. "Industry needs sound, science-based solutions to help level the playing field for the dietary supplement communitys problems of inferior products and the need for standardized testing methodology," he said. "As a leader in standards development and provider of analytical solutions, AOAC can help industry create standards that address industry-wide issues--a major benefit for them to participate."
Beyond the first meeting in March, the SPDS is expected to also meet at the 128th AOAC Annual Meeting in September 2014 in Boca Raton, Florida.
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