FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2010
Dan Ragan, director
NCDA&CS Food and Drug Protection Division
NCDA&CS food lab achieves ISO 17025 accreditation
RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ food protection laboratory has achieved an accreditation that will enable its data to be accepted by federal and international organizations.
The lab, housed within the department’s Food and Drug Protection Division, achieved accreditation to the ISO 17025 Standard, “General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories.” The standard addresses factors relevant to the lab’s ability to produce precise, accurate, defensible test data.
“Laboratory accreditation benefits the consumers of North Carolina by allowing acceptance of our data by federal partners like the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture, which will speed up decisions about food and feed safety issues,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Because the ISO 17025 standard is recognized internationally, our test data will also be accepted in other countries. This is extremely important to North Carolina farmers who export their products under the Global Good Agricultural Practices program. Our lab can now provide data on North Carolina produce that will be accepted by importing countries.”
The NCDA&CS lab joins nine other state labs and five federal agencies with the accreditation status. The American Association for Laboratory Accreditation issued the approval in accordance with standards published by the International Organization for Standardization.
The accreditation process took nearly four years and looked at a variety of factors, including technical competency of staff; validity and appropriateness of test methods; traceability of measurements and calibrations to national standards; suitability, calibration and maintenance of lab equipment; handling of samples; and accurate reporting of data.
Troxler said the lab’s accreditation puts the department in position to receive federal funding to support additional testing and the purchase of equipment and supplies, all of which support rapid response to food and feed safety issues.