AAFCO has been selected as the Expert Review Panel of the Year by AOAC for the Expert Review Panel for Sugars & Fructans. The award will be presented virtually during the Virtual 134th AOAC International Annual Meeting and Exposition during the Keynote Address and Awards Ceremony.
AAFCO appreciates the work of this team. To explain the history of these complex methods, here is background information.
Due to the request from industry to label feeds for carbohydrates, a large AAFCO working group of industry, regulators, and nutritionists from academia and government was formed in the mid 2000’s. Out of this working group, it was established that three carbohydrate fractions could be used to be descriptive of nutrition needs of all species of animals with respect to carbohydrate content of feeds. The three fractions were starch, fructans and sugars (or mono- and di- saccharides). This led to the development of the AAFCO Laboratory Methods & Services Committee’s (LMSC) “method needs statements” for three analytical methods in 2008, and the AAFCO team started to work on getting methods.
The first method that was studied was a starch method. A starch method was validated by Dr. Mary Beth Hall from USDA ARS and adopted as Official AOAC Method 2014.10 in 2014. This method was based on the AAFCO definition of dietary starch adopted in 2009. The method received Final Action status in 2018. This was the first analytical tool in the tool bag!
The second method attempted was mono- and di-saccarhides (sugars) in animal feeds and pet foods. This method proved to be a very difficult analytical challenge for a number of reasons. Within our resources in AAFCO, LMSC and volunteers, we were unsuccessful in developing an official method after nearly a decade of effort, but we felt we had a strong basis for one. In 2017, AAFCO contributed funds to AOAC to establish a Working Group on Sugars. The Working Group was international in nature and the scope addressed human food needs as well as animal food needs. AAFCO’s ultimate goal was an official method for sugars and for fructans in animal feeds. The Working Group established Standard Method Performance Requirements (SMPRs) for both methods – sugars and fructans - by 2018 and put out a call for methods. Methods arrived!
The Sugars Expert Review Panel was established to review the methods and their performance for the intended scope. It is this review panel that is being recognized by AOAC through this award which includes Nancy Thiex (USA), George Joseph, Ph.D. (New Zealand), Philip Andrew Haselberger (USA), Ankur Kumar (India), Sookwang Lee (USA), Roberto Molteni (Italy) Andrew Rousch (USA), Jack Stevens (USA), John Szpylka (USA), Martine Van Gool, Ph.D. (Netherlands) and Tom Vennard (USA).
By the end of 2018, we had an official method for a sugars profile and an official method for fructans. Both of these methods are currently awaiting Final Action Status.