The EA Laboratory Committee has organized its 36th meeting at Tallinn (Estonia)

2018-11-22T15:07:47+00:00October 19th, 2018|General Assembly / Committees|

67 participants from 38 National Accreditation Bodies and stakeholders’ organizations (EDQM, ENFSI, EURACHEM, EUROLAB) gathered on the 26th-27th September 2018 in Tallinn for the 36th LC meeting, hosted by EAK (Estonia).

Harmonized accreditation was “at work” with fruitful discussions focusing in particular on the recently revised EN ISO/IEC 17025:2017 General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. A good signal was given by the number of members’ questions related to the implementation of the new standard, which demonstrate that the transition has started effectively and is progressing well. The LC management group completed an extensive review of the EA documents for laboratory accreditation in the light of the revised standard. A revision program was agreed. It takes account of the revision work ongoing in ILAC and aims to avoid duplication and facilitate coordination with ILAC. The Committee decided also to postpone the workshop initially planned in March 2019 until September 2019. The general impression was that it would allow to gain broader experience with the implementation of the new standard.

Several other key issues were discussed to support harmonized practices in accreditation in laboratories.

EEE PT Working group

A debate started in the WG about Quick Responses events, also called “Rapid PTs” in EA. The point was to determine whether such activities can be accredited. The WG was mandated to analyze the process of QR events and come up with some recommendation. QR events are a useful tool, if and how to accredit them should be discussed further. It came out in the WG that guidance would be required regarding the use of QR events but this should be at the regional level or an issue for ILAC to address. The LC supported the EEE (EA, Eurolab and Eurachem) Proficiency Testing Working Group consensus position and that it be put forward at ILAC level in the ILAC WG on revision of ILAC P9:06/2014 – ILAC Policy for Participation in Proficiency Testing Activities. A final position is expected by the end of October 2018.

Review of LC Technical / Advisory documents

With growing visibility gained by accreditation thanks to efficient cooperation developed by EA and the major stakeholder organizations over the last decades, it was decided to change EA’s approach to Technical/Advisory documents. Until now, EA was promoting and publishing several technical publications from specific Recognized Stakeholders such as EURACHEM, EDQM or EWDTS. The objective was to highlight specific technical documents for use at laboratory level. Nowadays, the quality of a closer and closer cooperation of EA with stakeholder organizations, as well as improved awareness of laboratories on technical sector-based issues, makes it less pertinent and necessary for EA to maintain that process for publication of T/A documents. The organizations concerned are very well known as technical references in their respective fields, their websites are more and more visible and consulted easily. These are the reasons why EA decided to stop endorsing and publishing technical and advisory documents -as they were classified until recently. Consequently, the documents will shortly be withdrawn. In the field of Quality of Medicine, the EA- EA-INF/15: 2017 Joint EA – EDQM Communication regarding cooperation when carrying out (joint) audits/assessments in Official Medicines Control Laboratories gives the links to all applicable technical publications valid for the laboratory and accreditation in the field.

TN Feed and Food – Cooperation with the European Plant and Mediterranean Plan Protection Organisation (EPPO)

Pesticides is an issue of concern nowadays in the society and for the environment and the Conformity Assessment community takes it seriously. This is demonstrated by the continued reinforcement of EA/EPPO cooperation. The need for harmonized practice in that field has led to draft EA Guidance on Accreditation of Pesticide Residues Analysis in Food and Feed. The LC endorsed the TFG final draft which is now ready to go out for 30-days EA voting. The Committee also endorsed the revised EA/EPPO communiqué which will be published simultaneously by both organizations on their websites.

WG ILC Calibration

EA decided in 2017 to terminate its activities with regards to the organization of ILC in testing and calibration in support of the EA MLA. As a result the two WGs in charge were disbanded. WG ILC Calibration had its last meeting in May 2018 in Berlin. It could not finalize entirely its ILC 5-years program and will have to close activities in the next months. In Berlin, views were expressed that the need remains for economies where the offer for ILC is limited, to have a point where to get information.
The LC recognized that and agreed that TN Calibration would be the place where to discuss such needs and share information.

Process for managing LC FAQ listvProcess for managing LC FAQ list

To strengthen the implementation of the “One voice” concept and foster harmonization with benchmarking activities as mentioned in the “EA Strategy 2025: from Good to Great”, the LC decided
to start a new process for the management of its FAQ based on the model already used by the EA Certification and Inspection Committees. LC agreed to have a formal start of the new process with questions about the new ISO/IEC 17025. It was also decided to archive all the material collected during discussions on Members questions in previous LC meetings. The corresponding FAQ will be archived on the intranet for members’ use and reference as part of the LC knowledge database.

Risk assessment workshop

A dedicated breakout session took place on the first day of the meeting. This workshop aimed to provide
participants with information and exchange views on the concept of risk assessment. With the new EN ISO/IEC 17025 indeed the laboratory is now responsible for deciding which risks and opportunities have to be addressed. Presentations were made by the LC Chair, Laurent Vinson (COFRAC – France) and LC Vice-Chair, Trevor Thompson (UKAS – UK). The discussion was notably about whether, at this stage of the transition, to it should not be more beneficial to highlight improvement routes to laboratories and discuss with them, rather than reporting critical findings.

Alignment to ISO/IECD 17025:2017 – Revision of LC documents – Work plan 2018-2019

  • EA-INF/13 The Assessment and Accreditation of Opinions and Interpretations Using
    ISO/IEC 17025:2005
    : The LC appointed UKAS (UK) and RvA (The Netherlands) to be members of the TFG with Trevor Thompson, the LC Vice Chair as Convenor.
  • EA-4/09 Accreditation for Sensory Testing Laboratories: the LC appointed Ioannis Sitaras (ESYD – Greece) and Elisa Gredilla Zazo (ENAC – Spain) to be members of the TFG to be supported by technical experts as necessary.
  • EA- 4/02 Evaluation of the Uncertainty of Measurement In Calibration and its
    supplement
    : the LC appointed the Vice Chair Trevor Thompson (UKAS – UK) as Convenor, and Kondylia Sotiriou (ESYD), Giulia Suriani (ACCREDIA – Italy), André Barel (RVA – the Netherlands), Martin Valenta (CAI – Czech Republic), Ludmila Marina (LATAK – LATVIA), Kirsten Marie Rosenberg (DANAK – Denmark) and a representative from COFRAC (France) to be members of the TFG mandated for revising EA-4/02.

The next Laboratory Committee meeting will take place on the 27-28 March 2019 in Paris.