APFAN introductory information



APFAN, the Asia Pacific Food Analysis Network, is a special project of the Federation of Asian Chemical Societies (FACS). The aim of APFAN is to serve the needs of food analysts and thereby to promote food safety and good nutrition and indirectly contribute to the improvement of food security in the Asia Pacific region.



APFAN was formed at the 3rd Asian Chemical Congress, which was held in conjunction with the Royal Australian Chemical Institute’s 10th Analytical Chemistry Conference in Brisbane in 1989. Dr Howard Bradbury from the Australian National University accepted the role of APFAN founding Coordinator. Dr Bradbury’s humanitarian efforts focused on the development of simple kits for the determination of cyanogens in cassava to help reduce the incidence of the debilitating ‘Konzo’ disease in developing countries such as Mozambique.

ANU Emeritus Fellow Dr Howard Bradbury, Founding Coordinator APFAN.


As a network of food scientists and food technologists from more than 25 countries in the Asia, Pacific and African regions, APFAN rapidly grew to over 500 members.

Thereafter, Dr Pieter Scheelings (Australia) took on the role of APFAN Coordinator in November 2001, assisted by Co-Directors Dr Julia Kantasubrata (Indonesia) and Dr Aida Aguinaldo (The Philippines). Professor Dr F. G. Winarno (Indonesia) took over as APFAN Coordinator in September 2014. As of July 2018, the new APFAN Coordinator is Mr Stewart Jones.


Dr Bradbury handing over the ‘Baton’ to the new APFAN Coordinator, Dr Pieter Scheelings during the 5th Analytical Conference (5AC) in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in 2001.


Prof F G Winarno handing over the ‘Baton’ to the new APFAN Coordinator, Mr Stewart Jones during the APFAN PT1 Workshop in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2018.



Since its formation in 1989, APFAN has a long and successful history of working towards improving the quality of food analysis and the safety of food in the Asia Pacific region, mostly through training and the maintenance of an active network.

APFAN has successfully organised 5 regional Analytical Conferences (ACs), and the 6th AC is scheduled to be held in Melbourne in November, 2016. Through these conferences, as well as “hands-on” laboratory Analytical Workshops (AWs), short courses and special projects, and consultancies and work secondments, several thousand food analysts have been trained, have had the opportunity to travel throughout the Asia Pacific region, and have become ‘quality drivers’ within their own laboratories and economies.

Analytical proficiency has been enabled through the production of food-based reference materials in a program led by Dr Prapasri Puwastien from Mahidol University, and through a series of workshops conducted in Indonesia in association with IFAN, the Indonesian Food Analysis Network (Dr Julia Kantasubrata), in Thailand (Dr Prapasri Puwastien) and in the Philippines (Dr Aida Aguinaldo and Ms Teresita Portugal). APFAN has enabled a common regional understanding of measurement uncertainty principles and laboratory accreditation protocols.


Food analysis is vital to food quality, food safety and food trade. International food trade and public health and safety increasingly depend on reliable inspection, measurement and testing systems. Accurate chemical and microbiological analyses and regional equivalence of laboratory standards are essential and critical for policy development, monitoring regulatory standards, health advancement, and hence for regional social and economic development.

To meet international expectations, laboratories in the Asia Pacific region involved in the testing of food commodities need to be accredited to the ISO/IEC 17025 international standard. Yet many remain not accredited because they lack the skills necessary to implement the standard's technical requirements for method validation and measurement traceability, and management requirements for performance and proficiency.

In recognition of the need to improve the proficiency and capabilities of regional food testing laboratories, APFAN, is conducting a three-phase project that will look at producing and distributing low-cost Proficiency Testing (PT) materials to food analysis laboratories in the Asia Pacific region. A series of follow-up workshops in Indonesia (PT1), Thailand (PT3) and the Philippines (PT3) will discuss the PT results in detail, to enable the participant laboratories to improve their methodologies and adopt a more uniform approach to regional food analysis.

By focusing on the practical aspects of ISO/IEC 17025 through Proficiency Testing (PT) and laboratory workshops, this project will assist participants to identify, assess and implement actions that address the technical shortfalls of their organisations.


Looking forward to celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2019, APFAN finds itself in a different world compared to 1989. Globalisation of markets is creating an urgent need to harmonise divergent national systems for measurement, standards and conformity assessment. The level and nature of training requirements and trainee expectations in food analysis have evolved with advances in analytical technology and complexity of instrumentation. Home to over 60% of the world’s population, spread over thousands of islands, and accommodating thousands of languages and cultures, the Asia Pacific region needs the services of APFAN more than ever before.

As APFAN looks to the future, the need to achieve equivalence of standards between economies in the Asia Pacific trading region, particularly in the areas of food analytical systems and food safety systems is evident. It is important that APFAN works closely with international agencies such as AusAID, IAEA, FAO, WHO, UNIDO, ASEAN and the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum to ensure a consistent approach across the region. We now have the tools of social media and the use of webinar training modules to reduce travel costs for some seminars. We look forward to using these tools to improve our networking and speed of communication.

Global climate change has heightened the focus on the environment and its effects on food quality, safety and security. In the future there will be a need to do more work in the area of microbiological proficiency testing and traceability (biometrology), as well as continuing developments in risk management and international accreditation of laboratory management systems. Together we can embrace these changes through a new generation of APFAN activities.


Membership of APFAN is free. To join, simply email the Coordinator, Mr Stewart Jones at apfan.apfan@yahoo.com.