Although industry conferences are looking very different these days, A2LA has continued to find ways to connect with customers and share information with others in the accreditation industry. For Pittcon 2021, in addition to a virtual booth, A2LA experts will be presenting four different informational sessions throughout the conference. We have identified topics of interest among our customers throughout the last several months and are eager to provide helpful insider perspectives. If you will be virtually attending Pittcon March 8-12th, please join us at any of the following four sessions, or visit our virtual booth for a one-on-one conversation our accreditation professionals.
Effective March 1st, 2021 the Oregon Health Authority has completed “Phase 3 Rulemaking” of the Toxic-Free Kids Act, a law requiring manufacturers of children’s products sold on Oregon to report and ultimately remove certain high priority chemicals of concern for children’s health (HPCCCH). This law is intended to reduce children’s exposure to chemicals of concern and improve scientific understanding of how children may be exposed to such chemicals.
A2LA is pleased to announce the accreditation of Cannalytics, LLC to ISO/IEC 17025:2017 for cannabis testing. Cannalytics, based in San Juan, Puerto, was accredited by A2LA in December 2020 and is the first cannabis testing laboratory accredited in Puerto Rico. Cannalytics is led by professionals with extensive laboratory experience in related fields, giving them the skills required to excel in cannabis testing. Owner and Director Jorge H. Diaz, MT (ASCP) and his team pursued accreditation with A2LA to establish themselves as quality leaders in the fast-expanding cannabis industry and to support a safe and consistent medical cannabis supply in Puerto Rico.
A2LA members have elected and approved two new individuals to A2LA’s Board of Directors for terms beginning January 1, 2021. Mike Carter, CEO of Western Energy Support and Technology (WEST), is an accomplished executive with over 29 years of experience in flow measurement and calibration. William Troy, a retired three-star Lieutenant General in the U.S. Army, is former CEO of the American Society for Quality, where he led a $40 million budget for the global, 68,000-member non-profit organization. The Board of Directors has also appointed Robin Stombler, President of Auburn Health Strategies, as its new Vice Chair.
Across every industry and every profession, 2020 has been a year of seismic change and challenging paradigm shifts. Yet amidst the stress of this pandemic there have also been opportunities for problem-solving, innovation, and collaboration. A2LA has needed to dramatically re-imagine the assessment process without sacrificing precision or integrity, which has only been possible because of the close, communicative relationships we maintain with our accredited organizations. Feedback from our customers has helped us develop an effective remote assessment process, which has in turn allowed our customers to keep their accreditation schedules on track and continue operating. This has been a dynamic undertaking, with our customers showing us how to best help them at every turn, and A2LA assessors and accreditation officers have continuously used customer input to shape their responses.
In a sweeping show of popular support, New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota have all voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, and Mississippi has voted to legalize marijuana for medical use. In all five states, the decision was made by ballot measure. These five states are only the latest in a massive and relatively rapid nationwide shift in support of marijuana access, leaving Idaho as the only state in the US where no form of cannabis (hemp or marijuana) is legal for any application. These ballot measures are expected to have a significant impact on the cannabis industry in the states where they passed, and to influence cannabis legislation in neighboring states.
A2LA has been granted ASCA (Accreditation Scheme for Conformity Assessment) Recognition by the FDA, making it among the first accreditation bodies accepted as a participant in the ASCA Pilot program. The ASCA Pilot is a cooperative program that relies on participation from accreditation bodies, testing laboratories, medical device manufacturers and FDA staff. Accreditation bodies like A2LA that meet the FDA’s requirements for this new program are granted ASCA Recognition, enabling them to assess testing laboratories seeking ASCA accreditation to perform premarket testing for medical device companies.
We are excited to announce that the A2LA Technical Forum will be returning in 2021 to bring you the quality informative content, industry news, and networking opportunities you have come to rely on from this unique event. Not only will the Tech Forum resume next year, but for the first time ever, we will be implementing a theme chosen by our staff to add some fun and levity to our programming. Join us August 1st-4th 2021 as we “Surf into Compliance!”
The A2LA-accredited Cornell Veterinary Biobank was recently awarded a $2.5 million grant by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to study aging in dogs, an effort that will also inform the study of aging in humans. According to an article from Cornell, their biobank was selected for the Dog Aging Project grant due in part to their ISO 20387 accreditation, granted in 2019 by A2LA. Cornell remains the only veterinary biobank in the world accredited to this relatively new standard.
In any other year, A2LA staff and assessors might have attended a dozen or more conferences, expos, and professional gatherings by now. These opportunities to network and share professional insight were a part of our industry presence that we never anticipated losing altogether, but as is the case with all aspects of modern life, COVID-19 has forced us to make some profound changes. Many of the conferences we usually attend have been cancelled altogether, but others have been re-imagined as “virtual” conferences that seek to translate some of the in-person experience to a digital format through various types of video conferencing, virtual exhibit halls, and interactive presentations.