US: Partnership for cannabis proficiency testing program

AOAC International (AOAC) recently announced it has partnered with Signature Science, LLC (SigSci) as its test material provider for AOAC’s new Cannabis/Hemp Proficiency Testing (PT) Program. In launching this program, AOAC will become the only PT provider offering actual >0.3% THC cannabis flower/plant, as well as hemp, as a matrix.

AOAC’s PT programs help labs compete in the global marketplace by demonstrating that they meet the highest international standards for accuracy, reliability, and compliance, thereby ensuring the safety and integrity of cannabis- and hemp-based products. The new Cannabis PT Program was developed by stakeholders, including state regulatory laboratories, industry laboratories, state and federal agencies, as well as national and international accrediting bodies through the AOAC Cannabis Analytical Science Program (CASP). Cannabis and hemp samples in the program can be analyzed for cannabinoids, terpenes, moisture, heavy metals, mycotoxins, and pesticide residues.

“AOAC has a long history of bringing scientists together to address emerging topics, so when stakeholders came to AOAC with their concerns and need for quality proficiency testing in the cannabis industry, AOAC acted,” said Shane Flynn, Senior Director of AOAC’s Laboratory Proficiency Testing Program. “Stakeholders noted the analytical differences in testing cannabis versus hemp and had specific concerns around it and asked for a program that would provide actual cannabis samples in addition to hemp. This is truly a program that was created by the stakeholders, for the stakeholders.”

Signature Science, LLC (SigSci) is a scientific consulting and services firm, offering physical, life, forensic, and data science-related technical solutions and technologies through research and development; testing and evaluation; laboratory operations; laboratory quality assurance system development and support; data analytics; and systems design, integration, and production. SigSci is an ISO/IEC 17043 accredited proficiency test provider, offers a DEA-licensed controlled-substance laboratory, and holds specialized licenses that allow SigSci to legally purchase, store, and handle cannabis and hemp test materials and to ship cannabis test items to analytical laboratories holding DEA controlled substances licenses across state lines for proficiency testing purposes, making SigSci an ideal partner for AOAC’s program.

“We are excited to embark on this partnership with AOAC,” said Danielle Lenoir, quality assurance chemist and project manager. “AOAC INTERNATIONAL is a leader in the field of food and environmental safety, and we look forward to contributing our core quality assurance capabilities to the joint venture into a new and rapidly growing industry.”

The AOAC Cannabis PT Program includes one sample for the analyses of cannabinoids, terpenes, moisture, and heavy metals, and a second sample for pesticide residues. Mycotoxins will be added soon. The pilot round (hemp only-samples) will include 20 laboratories and samples will be shipped in early May 2022. The first live round, which will offer participants the choice of >0.3% THC cannabis or hemp samples, is scheduled for November 2022. To enroll, or to learn more about a an AOAC Cannabis or Hemp PT Program contact staff at

Future programs will offer microbiological samples in both the cannabis and hemp samples. In addition, programs relating to specific matrices such as gummies and chocolates are being considered for development.

For more information:
AOAC International 

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