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NIST Quality Assurance Program for Health Assessment Measurements Open for Registration

A collage of foods and the text HAMQAP Exercise 6

NIST has established a Health Assessment Measurements Quality Assurance Program (HAMQAP), in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, to help natural products, food, and clinical laboratories demonstrate measurement competence.  The accuracy and precision of measurements made by natural products and food labs is important so that manufacturers and consumers are confident in the claims on nutrition and ingredients labels, and to comply with regulations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The accuracy of measurements made in clinical labs is important so that patients are properly diagnosed and receive the correct treatments. In some clinical trials, researchers test both consumed products and their metabolized outputs in body fluids like blood and urine to better understand how consumption of a food or natural product can influence a person’s health status.

For many decades, NIST has supported these communities with reference materials that labs can use to check their analytical methods; This program is another form of measurement support.

Labs participating in HAMQAP can choose to conduct a variety of studies, from nutritional and toxic elements, to vitamins and fatty acids, to protein source identification.  When possible, materials representing human intakes, such as foods and dietary supplements, are paired with materials that represent their metabolic products, such as substances in urine, blood, serum, plasma, and human milk.  While participants are not required to select all analytes or all materials, pairing them gives NIST the opportunity to better understand challenges across the complete spectrum of tests of human health.

Participants in NIST quality assurance programs analyze the materials and share their results with NIST.  In return, test labs learn how their measurement results compare to other participants in the study, and to the rigorously measured and agreed upon value, when available.  Each participant is provided with a certificate of participation, which they can use to show due diligence in establishing scientifically valid methods within their lab.  A final report, in which participating labs’ identities remain confidential, is made public.  To follow up, workshops and webinars are held to discuss results as well as methodological advancements in health assessment measurements.  NIST will also use the results to develop new reference materials and measurement science education targeted at the communities’ needs.

Registration for Exercise 6 is now open, and will feature studies on fatty acid analysis, protein source identification, glyphosate detection, and more.

Exercise 6 Study

Intake Samples

Metabolism Samples

Nutritional Elements: Cl, I, Cr, Mo, and Se

Multivitamin, Infant Formula

Human & Animal Sera

Toxic Elements: As, Cd, Pb, and Hg

Rice Flour, Green Tea

Human & Animal Sera

Water-Soluble Vitamins: Biotin and Vitamin C

Multivitamin, Infant Formula

Human Sera

Fat-Soluble Vitamins: Vitamins A and E

Multivitamin, Infant Formula

Human Sera

Fatty Acids: Omega-3 and Omega-6

Fish & Fish Oils

Human Red Blood Cells

Natural Products: Caffeine, Theobromine, and Theophylline

Protein Supplements

Human Urine

Botanicals: Anthocyanidins

Cranberries, Blueberries, Bilberry


Contaminants I: Chlorate and Perchlorate

Infant Formula Ingredients & Finished Products


Contaminants II: Glyphosate and AMPA


Human Urine


Infant Formula, Rice Flour


Protein Source Identification

Protein Supplements



Released September 25, 2020, Updated September 28, 2020