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Food Nutrition and Safety Measurements Quality Assurance Program (FNSQAP)


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) established a Food Nutrition and Safety Measurements Quality Assurance Program (FNSQAP) to support the measurement needs of the food communities. The FNSQAP provides an opportunity for food testing laboratories to improve comparability of their measurements, as well as for NIST to assess community needs for reference materials, workshops, and other measurement services.


Montage of photographs showing infant formula, turmeric, chocolate, and cheese.
Credit: Canva stock

As part of a revamp of QAPs in 2021, NIST established the FNSQAP to support the NIST Food Safety Program and Measurements and Standards to Support Nutrition Labeling. Participants measure nutrient components (e.g., minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, dietary fiber) and contaminants (e.g., toxic elements, pesticide residues) in food samples, including infant formula, distributed by NIST. FNSQAP is designed to assist laboratories in the development and validation of new analytical methods, in improving the quality of their analytical measurements, and in supporting compliance with a number of federal regulations enforced by the US FDA, USDA, and other international bodies. Participant data is compiled at NIST and analyzed for accuracy, precision, and concordance within the community. Reports and certificates of completion are sent to participants, and workshops with participating laboratories may be held following future studies. Future FNSQAP studies may address additional food safety areas such as authenticity, protein food allergens, and microbial contaminants, as needs are identified. Please send suggestions for studies or requests for more information regarding FNSQAP and other NIST QAPs to QAPHUB [at] (QAPHUB[at]nist[dot]gov).



Exercise 3 

Preliminary data review ongoing through October 20, 2023.

Study Measurands and Samples 
Nutritional Elements Cu, Mg, and P in infant formulas 
Water-Soluble Vitamins Vitamin B12 in infant formulas 
Fat-Soluble Vitamins Vitamin A in infant formulas 
Contaminants I PFAS in meat, milk, and egg 
Contaminants II Pesticides in spinach 

Exercise 3 Invitation Letter 

Exercise 3 Shipping Letter


Major Accomplishments

Specific sample/analyte combinations included in each FNSQAP exercise, as well as links to final reports, are summarized in the tables below.

Exercise 1


Measurands and Samples

Nutritional Elements

Ca, Na, Fe, and K in infant formulas

Toxic Elements

As, Cd, Pb, and Hg in baby foods

Water-Soluble Vitamins

Folic acid in infant formulas

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Vitamin K in infant formulas

Contaminants I

Acrylamide in chocolate and coffee

Contaminants II

Glyphosate in foods

Exercise 1 Final Report

Exercise 2


Measurands and Samples

Nutritional Elements

Cr, Mo, and Se in infant formulas

Toxic Elements

Cd and Pb in chocolate materials

Water-Soluble Vitamins

Choline and carnitine in infant formulas

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Carotenoids in infant formulas

Fatty Acids

DHA and ARA in infant formulas

Contaminants I

Glyphosate in turmeric and cat food

Contaminants II

Phthalates in infant formula and cheese

Exercise 2 Final Report is coming soon.

Associated Publications

1. Jahrman, E. P., Yu, L. L., Krekelberg, W. P., Sheen, D. A., Allison, T. C., and Molloy, J. L., "Assessing arsenic species in foods using regularized linear regression of the arsenic K-edge X-ray absorption near edge structure," Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 37, 1247-1258 (2022). 

2. Cruz, M. B., Place, B. J., Wood, L. J., Urbas, A., Wasik, A., and Rocha, W. F. D., "A nontargeted approach to determine the authenticity ofGinkgo bilobaL. plant materials and dried leaf extracts by liquid chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS) and chemometrics," Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 412, 6969-6982 (2020). 

3. Heck, M. and Neely, B. A., "Proteomics in Non-model Organisms: A New Analytical Frontier," Journal of Proteome Research, 19, 3595-3606 (2020). 

4. Phillips, M. and Zhang, K., "Mycotoxins and Food Safety-Prevention and Control: Expectation and Reality," Journal of Aoac International, 102, 1641 (2019). 

5. Yu, L. L., Browning, J. F., Burdette, C. Q., Caceres, G. C., Chieh, K. D., Davis, W. C., Kassim, B. L., Long, S. E., Murphy, K. E., Oflaz, R., Paul, R. L., Sharpless, K. E., Wood, L. J., Yen, J. H., and Zeisler, R., "Development of a kelp powder (Thallus laminariae) Standard Reference Material," Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 410, 1265-1278 (2018). 

6. Wise, S., "CCQM activities and impact in food safety and nutrition," Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, 250, (2015). 

7. Sharpless, K. E., Thomas, J. B., Duewer, D. L., Putzbach, K., Rimmer, C. A., Sander, L. C., Schantz, M. M., Wise, S. A., Yarita, T., and Yen, J. H., "Preparation and characterization of standard reference material 3276, carrot extract in oil," Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 389, 207-217 (2007). 

8. Sander, L. C., Sharpless, K. E., and Wise, S. A., "Dietary supplement Standard Reference Materials," Life Sciences, 78, 2044-2048 (2006). 

9. Sharpless, K. E., Anderson, D. L., Betz, J. M., Butler, T. A., Capar, S. G., Cheng, J., Fraser, C. A., Gardner, G., Gay, M. L., Howell, D. W., Ihara, T., Khan, M. A., Lam, J. W., Long, S. E., McCooeye, M., Mackey, E. A., Mindak, W. R., Mitvalsky, S., Murphy, K. E., NguyenPho, A., Phinney, K. W., Porter, B. J., Roman, M., Sander, L. C., Satterfield, M. B., Scriver, C., Sturgeon, R., Thomas, J. B., Vocke, R. D., Wise, S. A., Wood, L. J., Yang, L., Yen, J. H., and Ziobro, G. C., "Preparation and characterization of a suite of ephedra-containing standard reference materials," Journal of Aoac International, 89, 1483-1495 (2006). 


Created February 25, 2022, Updated March 7, 2024