alexa Committee on Natural Toxins and Food Allergens. Marine and freshwater toxins.


Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology

Author(s): Hungerford JM

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Abstract There have been major developments this past year in the Marine and Freshwater Toxins topic area (formerly Phycotoxins). These include AOAC approval and inauguration of a new AOAC Presidential Task Force on Marine and Freshwater Toxins to accelerate methods validation, and the appointment of several new Topic Advisors. A joint FAO/IOC/WHO group addressing biotoxins in molluscan bivalves is also relevant to this report and to the new Task Force. The AOAC Presidential Task Force on Marine and Freshwater Toxins is an international group that, in late November 2004, consisted of 90 world experts and stakeholders. Chaired by this General Referee, the group establishes methods priorities based on analytical methods criteria, determines fitness for purpose, identifies and reviews available methodologies, recommends methodologies for validation, and identifies complementary analytical tools. Once appropriate analytical methodology has been identified or developed, the Task Force is able to identify financial and technical resources necessary to validate the methods. The first two formal meetings of the Task Force were held in Bethesda, MD, on May 19, 2004 and in St. Louis, MO, on September 22, 2004. These meetings were held in conjunction with the XI International IUPAC Symposium on Mycotoxins and Phycotoxins and the 118th AOAC INTERNATIONAL Annual Meeting and Exposition, respectively. The Bethesda meeting served to introduce members of the group to the AOAC Community/Task Force model and to discuss objectives, concerns, general workings, and communications. The meeting concluded on an encouraging note, with a commitment from AOAC to help provide financial resources for the review of nonproprietary methods deemed high priority by the Task Force. This development was seen as an important step toward reaching methods validation objectives. The terms of reference for the Task Force were approved by the AOAC Board of Directors in late June, 2004. They described the Task Force membership as composed of voting and nonvoting members, with the voting members consisting of 13 members (12 plus the Chair). Voting members comprise of a balance of government regulators, academics, and industry members. No single agency has more than 2 voting members. Task Force members serve as experts in the field and agree to identify other experts; recommend individuals who can serve on the Task Force and as Chair; develop and prioritize a list of marine and freshwater toxins that need validated methods; assist in identifying existing methods for validation through AOAC validation programs; and recommend to the AOAC INTERNATIONAL Board of Directors policies and procedures necessary to accomplish the mission of the Task Force. They endeavor to actively support the work of the Task Force through garnering of sources of funding (except where prohibited by employer); identifying potential participating laboratories, sample identification and acquisition; and increasing program awareness among stakeholders. They assist AOAC in the identification of study directors and in the development of quality measurement tools by participating in the validation of methods and by identifying venues for members of the Task Group or the community to gather and assist with meeting content. Prior to the September 2004, AOAC Annual Meeting, the Task Force approved a set of Analytical Methods Selection Criteria, which are critical to the mission of the Task Force. They can be found, along with the Terms of Reference, roster of members, and other information, on the Task Force Web site at toxins/task_force.htm. The September 22, 2004 Task Force meeting in St. Louis included discussion of 2 interlaboratory studies, a proprietary kit for domoic acid by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA; Biosense Labs AS, Bergen, Norway) and also a nonproprietary liquid chromatography (LC) method for paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins by precolumn oxidation (James F. Lawrence, Health Canada). These 2 methods were recommended by the Task Force for review by AOAC in September 2004. The group also discussed future priority directions, aspects of interlaboratory studies and official methods of analysis, other methods validation issues, future meetings, and funding. In addition to the Task Force meeting, 2 subgroup meetings were held. One subgroup addressed strategies to replace the mouse bioassay for brevetoxins with alternative modern methods based on ELISA or LC/mass spectrometry (MS). Brevetoxin metabolites, toxicity issues, and extraction conditions as well as future field studies were addressed in detail. The receptor binding assay (RBA)/saxitoxins subgroup addressed several aspects of the methodology, radiolabeled saxitoxin, and comparisons of mouse bioassay and RBA response. Both subgroups were productive and were seen as very useful by the participants. Task Force attendees generally agreed that subgroups are the most effective means of progressing towards validation of new methods and of ensuring thorough discussions of methods under consideration. By the time of their next meeting (April 2005) at the "Marine and Freshwater Toxins Analysis: 1st Joint Symposium and AOAC Task Force Meeting" in Baiona, Spain, the Task Force will have several well developed new subgroups in the areas of okadaic acid and dinophysis toxins, yessotoxins, domoic acids, and ciguatoxins. Some of the subgroups will hold face-to-face meetings in Spain and others will meet at future symposia or joint meetings. It is likely that training sessions will be associated with multiple Task Force meetings planned for 2005. Details on these meetings can be found on the Task Force Web site. Although the Task Force has experienced rapid growth, the addition of new members to the group, especially industry and government stakeholders, is encouraged. Task Force member Michael Quilliam, NRC Canada, provided the information given below on a joint CODEX group of special relevance to the new Task Force. This group met in late September 2004. For more information, see
This article was published in J AOAC Int and referenced in Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology

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