Oxford ICSB 2024: A botanist, FDA official and lab tech walk into a conference…

The conference, held over four days in April in Oxford, Miss., is supported by a cooperative agreement between the National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) at the University of Mississippi and the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This year’s meeting was held in conjunction with the 7th​ World Congress on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (WOCMAP).

Broadly, sessions explored topics ranging from African herbal wisdom and the impact of climate change on the supply chain to navigating new dietary ingredient notifications and efforts to protect the market and military from tainted products.

For the more science-minded, presentations covered subject matter like one-class modeling for authentication, capsule disintegration and dissolution challenges, plant-to-extract ratios, whole genome skimming, herb-drug interactions, toxicological data, reverse pharmacokinetics and cell-based assays.

One message that emerged was the importance of inter-industry and institutional connection to ensure that knowledge and process are not transmuted or lost to an ever-expanding market.

FDA is here to help

From the outset of the conference, there was a clear message that FDA is here to help industry protect public health, acting not as an enemy but as a referee to make sure that the rules are followed by the regulated entities.

Dr. Cara Welch, director of CFSAN’s Office of Dietary Supplement Programs, did not stray too far from the Agency’s talking points in her keynote, but there was a sense that there were messages that bore repeating.  

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