In this BONUS episode of Food Safety Matters, representatives from Neogen and AOAC INTERNATIONAL discuss the benefits of having testing methods and kits independently approved and certified.
You will learn all about the beginnings of AOAC INTERNATIONAL, how the organization has evolved, and what it means for a company within the food industry to be an affiliate member.
To help us better understand why AOAC INTERNATIONAL membership is a plus, our editorial director, Barbara Van Renterghem, spoke with two experts from both sides of the fence.
Dave Schmidt is AOAC INTERNATIONAL's new executive director as of May 1, 2018. Prior to joining AOAC, he was principal consultant for Schmidt Commonwealth Strategies, LLC. From 2006 to 2015, he served as president CEO of the International Food Information Council (IFIC) and CEO of the IFIC Foundation in Washington, D.C. He joined IFIC in 1993 and held positions from director to executive vice president prior to being elected CEO. Dave also served as the first Bush Administration's director of external affairs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service where he addressed food safety and nutrition issues and managed the inspection agency’s media, legislative, and consumer education programs. He also gained a thorough understanding of the food industry in previous sales positions with Oscar Mayer Foods, Pepsi-Cola USA, and Canada Dry Corp. He holds a B.A. in business administration from Vanderbilt University, and completed graduate business studies at the University of New Orleans. He has also served the Town of Leesburg, VA, as a town council member.
Dr. Robert Donofrio is the director of food safety research and development for Neogen. He joined Neogen in February of 2016, responsible for the strategic vision, resource management, and coordination of product development activities for the following laboratory groups: Immunodiagnostics, Biochemistry, Neogen Culture Media, Molecular biology, Pathogen Detection and General Microbiology. Dr. Donofrio also oversees the Neogen Validation laboratory which is responsible for performing internal product validation and coordinating third-party product certification and approval through groups such as AOAC, AFNOR, Health Canada, and MicroVal. Dr. Donofrio is also responsible for establishing key collaborations with university and private research centers as well as evaluating novel technologies for potential integration into Neogen’s product portfolio. Prior to Neogen, Dr. Donofrio spent 16 years at NSF International, a public health and safety company. During his tenure at NSF, Dr. Donofrio served as the director of the microbiology lab for over a decade, and then as director of the Applied Research Center for his final 3 years. He was awarded the NSF Star Employee Award in March of 2001 (was nominated for the same award in 2008), and guided his laboratory to the 2006 NSF Team of the Year Award.
Dr. Donofrio obtained his B.S. in biology from the University of Dayton in 1994 and his M.S. in environmental microbiology from Duquesne University in 1996, where he was named Graduate Student of the Year. Dr. Donofrio obtained his doctoral degree in microbiology from Michigan Technological University in May 2009.
Dr. Donofrio has authored dozens of publications for peer-reviewed journals, trade journals, and training materials. He is a full member of the International Association for Food Protection, Society of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (SIMB), AOAC, American Society for Microbiology, Institute of Food Technology, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served on the Board of Directors at SIMB for two terms.
In this episode, we speak to Neogen and AOAC INTERNATIONAL about:
- AOAC's history, mission, and funding
- Future growth opportunities in microbiological testing, dietary supplements, and cannabis
- Benefits of being an affiliate member
- Method validations offered by AOAC, and options for proprietary methods
- AOAC's laboratory proficiency testing program
- Performance tested methods program vs. official methods of analysis program
- The importance of AOAC approval to an affiliate member
- The process of getting a testing method or kit approved by AOAC
- Deciding which products will and will not go through the AOAC approval process
- Global harmonization efforts
- Education and training efforts, particularly for the new generation of scientists
- What it's like to partner with AOAC