20th meeting of the EA Laboratory Committee (EA LC) was held in the period between 15th and 16th September 2010 in Sofia, Bulgaria.
One of the key meeting topics was EA category 4 document that was issued in June 2010, EA-4/18, Guidance on the level and frequency of proficiency testing participation. This document shall be used by both testing laboratories accredited as per ISO/IEC 17025 and medical laboratories accredited as per ISO 15189.
Given that the participation in inter-laboratory comparisons and PT schemes is one of the main requirements and challenges for accredited laboratories, a risk analysis was presented to include the requirements of ISO/IEC 17043 pertaining to accreditation of PT providers and ILAC G13 guidance document that was in use for this purpose. 39 accredited providers in the field of testing have been identified in Europe so far, whereas there are 3 of them in the field of calibration. The most common fields of accreditation of PT providers are testing of samples - environment, food and feed, clinical samples and cement. Calibration fields covered by accreditation of PT providers are as follows: temperature, humidity, pressure and electrical quantities. After the analysis of the questionnaire completed by accreditation bodies accrediting PT providers, it was concluded that critical activities relate to the following: subcontracting, training of assessors and definition of accreditation scopes of PT providers.
2011 Work Programme of the EA LC was presented during the meeting and it composed of the following tasks: harmonisation of the work in the field of accreditation of testing/calibration laboratories through efficient use of established technical networks (for testing in the field of environment, calibration, forensic testing, mechanical/electrical testing and testing of toys, food testing); exchange of experiences and technical assessors; drafting good practice guidelines; organisation of workshops with special topics; organisation of training; cooperation with interested parties (ENFSI, Eurolab, Eurachem, Euramet, Egolf, EPPO, EFI, Eurogentest); cooperation with PT providers; active participation in ILAC activities; active cooperation with other EA committees (e.g. cooperation with EA NNS aiming at harmonisation of practice in the field of accreditation in order to provide support to notification activities – testing and calibration); updating EA guidelines and supporting the use of flexible scopes of accreditation.
Meetings of technical network for food testing were organised and they covered the following topics:
1) GMO testing (flexible scope of accreditation, validation and verification of methods, calibration, PT schemes, preparation of testing material);
2) use of flexible scope in the field of food testing (a small number of accreditation bodies does not use flexible scopes in this field, but there are different approaches to flexibility: flexibility in relation to testing subject/matrix/sample or flexibility in relation to parameters/components/analytes or flexibility in relation to performance of methods or flexibility in relation to testing methods; only a certain number of accreditation bodies drafted the guidelines; it was concluded that a number of accreditation bodies applied the said principle, but they did not use the term);
3) accreditation of official control laboratories (cooperation with DG SANCO was analysed and it was intensive in the past few months)
4) flexibility of scopes, method of their description and a need for harmonisation;
5) progress in revising the document entitled EA-4/10 (within the competence of Eurachem).
Topics related to possible application of flexible scopes in calibration and experiences relating to a terminology change from BMC to CMC were discussed at the meeting of technical network for calibration.
Bratislav Milošević MSc and Natalija Jovičić Zarić MSc attended the EA LC meeting.