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AOAC INTERNATIONAL is a non-profit scientific association with headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, USA. It publishes standardised, chemical analysis methods designed to increase confidence in results of chemical and microbiologic analyses. Government agencies and civil organisations often require that laboratories use official AOAC methods.
AOAC INTERNATIONAL, informally AOAC, was founded September 8, 1884 as the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists, by the United States Department of Agriculture, to establish uniform chemical analysis methods for analysing fertilizers; membership was limited to government analytical chemists until 1987, afterwards, membership was extended to industrial scientists. In 1965, the AOAC's name changed to Association of Official Analytical Chemists to accurately reflect its scope beyond agriculture. In 1991, it was renamed AOAC INTERNATIONAL to reflect the international scope of the organization's work and its international membership. However, AOAC is no longer an acronym. According to the AOAC website: though AOAC has no legal meaning, it may be interpreted as "Association of Analytical Communities" which encompasses "all the scientific disciplines involved in doing the work of the Association", which are no longer limited to chemists. The AOAC's publications center upon comprehensive analysis methods, including AOAC Official Methods of Analysis (1885, 49pp.), Official and Provisional Methods of Analysis of the AOAC (1912), and the bi-monthly Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL, currently its principal periodical, subscribed to by university and industry technical libraries and by members of AOAC INTERNATIONAL.
AOAC INTERNATIONAL's technical contributions center on the creation, validation, and global publication of reliable analytical test methods, primarily to evaluate the safety of foods, beverages, dietary supplements, and similar materials consumed by humans and animals, or to evaluate purity of materials used in production of foodstuffs and their ingredients. These test methods are of two broad categories: chemical tests (e.g., for vitamins or pesticides) and microbiological tests (e.g., for spoilage agents or biological threat agents).
In spring 2011, the AOAC INTERNATIONAL Board of Directors approved a new path to Official First Action method status. This dynamic aligned approach incorporates AOAC standards development as an integral part of AOAC Official MethodsSM output. In the new path, expert review panels (ERPs) adopt methods as Official First Action, and remain intact to monitor the methods during the 2-year period between First and Final Action consideration. During this time, ERPs assess the performance of methods against the standards as adequate method reproducibility and other ERP - and stakeholder-based method criteria are demonstrated. ERPs must make a recommendation on method status to the Official Methods Board no later than 2 years after First Action status. The Official Methods Board will determine Final Action method status.
The AOAC Official MethodsSM Program is designed to provide needed evaluated methods that can be used with confidence by regulated industry, regulatory agencies, contract research organizations and testing laboratories, and academic institutions. Official MethodsSM undergo rigorous scientific scrutiny and demonstrate the highest level of confidence in a method. Official MethodsSM are published in the Official Methods of Analysis of AOAC INTERNATIONAL and supporting manuscripts are published in the Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL. These methods are recognized as official methods by the U.S. FDA and other agencies. Members gain free access to the OMA via the web. You can save any method or section as a PDF file for use offline or to print. Possibly their most visible activity is to be official source for nutrition labeling analysis.
Programs and Services
AOAC offers many programs and services to our members and customers. AOAC’s primary activity is the development of globally accepted standards. AOAC’s standards development process relies on stakeholder panels to develop consensus-based method performance requirements and volunteer expert review panels to evaluate potential methods – all based on the community’s specific method needs. AOAC’s independent third party status, vast experience, and volunteer leadership all contribute to the credibility, defensibility, and acceptability of standards and methods developed through our processes.
- Standards Development & Conformity Assessment
- Official MethodsSM and Performance Tested MethodsSM Programs
- AOAC publishes a renowned peer-reviewed scientific journal; the Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL as well as the Official Methods of Analysis of AOAC INTERNATIONAL
- Regional Sections, Analytical Communities, and Technical Divisions: AOAC INTERNATIONAL has 10 North American sections, organized geographically, as well as 7 geographic sections in the rest of the world.
- AOAC Annual Meeting and Exposition & Mid-Year Meeting
- Laboratory Proficiency Testing Program (Accredited by A2LA)
- Memberships are offered on an Individual and Corporate basis
Meetings & Exposition
AOAC Annual Meeting & Exposition
The AOAC Annual Meeting & Exposition falls in late August, September or early October. The annual meetings are held in major cities around the United States and Canada. Moving the annual meeting to various regions benefits members that are not able to travel distances. It also helps share the cost of travel as some years a member has less travel expenses and a subsequent year the cost is higher.
AOAC's Annual Meeting offers scientific sessions, roundtables, workshops, and poster presentations to meet a variety of analytical needs. Nowhere else can you find access to this level reliable knowledge. AOAC brings you science-based research from the top scientists in the world; technical information about changes and advances in methodology; and access to techniques and applications. Scientists from around the world come to discuss science at a different level. You'll meet a higher caliber of scientist at an AOAC Annual Meeting & Exposition. Not only will you meet with international and domestic scientists - AOAC provides a broad spectrum of interactions between industry, government, and academia. AOAC hosts a number of different special events to provide the venue for you to meet with other members. Meet scientists interested in your issues, companies that are willing to partner to help solve problems, and representatives from around the world working together to achieve common goals. Ask anyone who has attended before - it's not your typical meeting.
Mid Year Meeting
AOAC's Mid Year Meeting is held in March, annually. AOAC INTERNATIONAL hosts advisory panel meetings, stakeholder panel meetings, and working group meetings, if necessary, in response to urgent or priority issues and to facilitate ongoing stakeholder activities. All meetings are open and the activities transparent for members’ and stakeholders’ participation. Such meetings can take place in person at AOAC INTERNATIONAL headquarters, in the Washington, DC, USA, metropolitan area, and across the globe. The details are dependent upon the scope of work to be accomplished.
Mission & Vision
Setting Global Standards. To attain the vision of “worldwide confidence in analytical results,” AOAC serves it’s stakeholders by providing the tools and processes necessary to collaborate and through voluntary consensus building, develop fit‐for‐purpose methods and services for ensuring quality measurements. This is AOAC’s mission
In August 2013, AOAC's website underwent substantial changes.