n°55 - September 2005

Message from the President

2006 General Assembly

I would like to remind everyone that the next General Assembly will be held next year in Aguas de São Pedro, Brazil, South America at the end of the SPRI meeting. The dates for the meeting are;

Thursday 21st - Friday 22nd September 21 2006
The Grande Hotel São Pedro will host the conference

Further details for the delegates will be published very soon but I would ask everyone to reserve these dates for what will be an important meeting.

I would ask the Referees to start now to prepare their reports so that we can post them to the ICUMSA website (www.icumsa.org) as soon as possible so that our National Committee may have the time to discuss them before the meeting.

New Referee for Subject S12

As you probably have noticed already from the ICUMSA website, we have now a new Referee for the Subject S12 – Microbiology. The new Referee is Mrs Maritta Jacobs (Germany) who replaces Mr. E. Stoppok. We thank Mr Stoppok for having served ICUMSA during the last session.

ICUMSA’s new image

At the Executive Committee meeting held in Atlanta last year, we decided to provide ICUMSA with a more professional “corporate identity”. With the help of the General Secretary and the Treasurer we have evaluated several different submissions from a design firm and the proposed logo style is shown below.

If there are no objections to this choice we will adopt this style for all our publications and circulate the designs to those people who need it. There will be a re-fresh of the web-site to reflect the new identity in the near future. I would recommend that National Committees also use the design for their stationery etc. and we will make the necessary arrangements for Committees to receive the relevant artwork.

Method Supplement 2005

After the publication of the Proceedings of the Interim meeting held in Atlanta, the Publication Committee, with enormous help from John Dutton (UK), published the Supplement 2005. Unfortunately a few minor mistakes crept into some methods. These have been spotted quickly and corrections have been issued already.

Presidential Election

At the next General Assembly in Brazil, we will have to choose a new President. After eight years of my presidency, I believe that we need a new person who can take the Commission into the future. Kevin Schaffler (SA), chairman of the Nomination Committee, is now preparing the relevant papers for nominations. I would ask you to contact Kevin for proposals and suggestions.

Analysis of the ICUMSA Method numbering system
G. Pollach

At the ICUMSA meeting in Atlanta (2004) the topic "Method numbering system" was on the agenda of Subject 3 and I participated in the discussions. I would like to continue this discussion with an analysis of the Method numbering system:

Method filing system
ICUMSA has a two-dimensional Method filing system in the Method book, with GS sections and Methods inside the sections. A Method like GS1/2/3/4/7/8-23 (pH), serving as an example with a rather complex number, will be put to section GS1 as a single copy. All the other General Subjects, like GS2, GS3, GS4, GS7 and GS8, have to refer to section GS1, as they have no extra copies. If somebody wants to measure pH of raw sugar, s/he will find Method GS1/2/3/4/7/8-23 directly in section GS1. In case of other samples (e.g. thick juice) the Method will be found by a cross-reference rather than by "/8" included to the Method number. Thus the short “Filing number” or “identification number” or “ID number” GS1-23 would meet the needs of all readers of the Method book.

Advantage of ID numbers
A use of ID numbers would result in more uniformity, instead of permanent changes of “Full numbers” after introduction of a Method to a new General Subject or a drop of a Method in one of the General Subjects. If the present “slash system” is kept, the numbers will not be constant, as expected by Lescure, Schäffler and Kunz in the discussion remarks in Atlanta (“... we should keep it as it is”).

I give some examples:
- If white sugar Methods or raw sugar Methods can be used for PWS too, all these Method numbers would be altered in the near future by adding "/9". If organisations have already adopted the old Full number, ICUMSA must get in touch with them and ask to add “/9”. Companies must correct their QS documents too. I believe that no additional "/9" is necessary, if cross-references are included in section GS9, but this would be the first break with the “slash tradition”. The scope of all Method descriptions, quoted via “see... “ in GS9, could be completed for PWS on the next opportunity. On the other hand, all special PWS Methods should be numbered like GS9-1, GS9-2 etc from the beginning.

- Method GS1/2/3/4/7/8-23 (pH) is tentative for white sugar and from results given in ICUMSA Proc. 1986, pp. 426-429, I believe that no satisfying reproducibility will be found for white sugar in future collaborative studies. Therefore the tentative status will probably be dropped. This will cause a change of the Method number from GS1/2/3/4/7/8-23 to GS1/3/4/7/8-23 and with the “slash system” all cross references in GS3, GS4, GS7 and GS8 as well as the list of contributors have to be changed. With a Method number GS1-23, only a deletion of the cross reference in GS2 and an alteration of the Method description itself is necessary. A use of short ID numbers would show more uniformity than the present “slash system”.

- If more than one Method exists for a combination of sample and component, the Method used has to be indicated, according to Subject 3. If laboratories can use the ID number (like GS1-1 instead of the longer GS1/2/3-1), this may cause fewer misprints and users could be even happier with the short number, which is additionally easier for oral communication in different languages.

A step by step procedure
A modification could be done step by step, without abandoning the “slash system” in one go:

- The sub-indices after the book dividers already refer to the short ID numbers. Therefore - after a possible drop of the white sugar pH Method - nothing has to be done in the sections GS3, GS4, GS7 and GS8. This is the first administrative advantage, and consistency is an advantage for book readers too.

- The next step could be a definition of a Full number and an ID number in the Method book. A Full number is an ID number like “GS1-13” with additional information like “/3/4/7/8”. Even if Full numbers and ID numbers are used in parallel, no confusion is possible, because the “slash digits” of the Full numbers are not necessary for identification (if ICUMSA would start to have Methods like GS1/2/3-13 and GS1/3/4/7/8-13 in parallel, the “slash digits” would become part of the ID).

- All the contributing authors wrote Method descriptions which were given to one GS-section in the book. Why should their Methods not be quoted via the short ID number in the list of contributors? Future corrections would then only be necessary in case of new Methods or after moving a Method from one GS section to another (e.g. colour with MOPS buffer). With the present Full number references, any change of status of any Method in any new GS section will have effect even on the list of contributors.

- If the ID number were be used in the footer of reprinted Method descriptions, this would be easier for readers. It is not possible to check a number like GS1/2/3/4/7/8-23 in the footer quickly during turning of pages.

- The use of Full numbers in the main index of the Method Book is bad for its readability. ID numbers could be used there as the next step.

- To change the Method number in the title of Methods is a serious step. If ID numbers shall be used for new Methods and the Full numbers shall be kept additionally, the scope of a Method description (example from GS1) could read as follows: “The Method is applicable to all raw sugars (General Subject 1), white sugars and speciality sugars requiring clarification (General Subjects 2 and 3). The Full number of the Method is GS1/2/3-1.”

- During the discussion in Atlanta, Kulkarni proposed to add T, O, A as a status information to the Method number. This must be done for every GS separately, because the status is often different. For the pH Method a Full number would then read as complex as follows: GS1,O/2,T/3,O/4,O/7,O/8,O-23. A confusion of O with zero is possible. Instead of this, I propose a status table given in the Method book, showing for every ID number the relevant General Subjects as well as the status for these Subjects. The following table is given for the first 15 Methods, as an example:


Comments to the proposals are welcome.