Rockville, MD—The Global Retailer and Manufacturer Alliance (GRMA) and AOAC International have signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a strategic partnership to help advance shared goals surrounding consumer product safety standards, according to a press release.

AOAC is an association of government, industry, and academic leaders in analytical science, with the primary goal of developing standards that ensure food safety and integrity. GRMA’s membership-based network of retailers, manufacturers, certification bodies, and trade associations shares the same goals for advancing quality standards.

The two groups plan to develop and promote quality initiatives within select health and wellness categories. Initially, they will focus on botanicals, dietary supplements, colors, and cosmetics.

“We are very excited to work with GRMA and its many global members who engage with millions of consumers around the world,” said David B. Schmidt, AOAC Executive Director, in the press release. “AOAC’s standards and methods will provide a substantial foundation to ensuring these consumers receive the safest products with the components they expect.”

The first co-convened project is a series of thought leader discussions, which kicked off in December 2021 with a discussion of botanical and dietary supplement product integrity. Two additional sessions are planned for early this year, and will focus on prioritization of the opportunities and challenges identified in December that are intended to garner stakeholder support for a joint multi-year initiative.

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AOAC and GRMA will also work together on task forces, committees, and working groups. These include AOAC’s new Botanical and Dietary Supplement Product Integrity Program and the GRMA’s recently launched Dietary Supplement Product Integrity Committee.

“We are excited by the opportunity to collaborate with AOAC International across a number of initiatives,” said Allyn Shultis, GRMA Executive Director. “They have a well-established and technical approach that provides solutions to some areas of concern for our stakeholders. In the initial thought leader discussion, we had near-record level participation and valued input from manufacturers, retailers, certifying bodies, and other key industry stakeholders. From that meeting, we see several ways to provide significant value to our members, the industry, and consumers. Through our shared appreciation of the consensus standard process, our next meeting will focus on prioritizing the opportunities and initiatives identified by industry stakeholders within this collaborative framework.”