The A2LA blog is a resource for information related to the accreditation industry, international standards, the role of accreditation in life and business, and A2LA as an organization. It includes informational articles about accreditation concepts, spotlights on A2LA-accredited organizations, and important updates about A2LA and the accreditation industry overall. Our writers and collaborators strive to provide content that is accurate, informative, consistent, and clear to best serve those seeking to learn. Do you have a special request or an idea for a topic? Please contact marketing@A2LA.org.
On May 21st, the A2LA-accredited laboratory Source Molecular Corporation (SMC) introduced testing services for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, on wastewater, air, and surfaces. They are the first A2LA-accredited laboratory to conduct this type of SARS-CoV-2 testing, which is covered by their flexible scope of accreditation. SMC, a Florida-based molecular testing lab, provides innovative technology to help solve pathogenic water, air and surface pollution problems through source tracking, genetic and molecular techniques, and test kits. These new tests, developed to help address the spread of coronavirus, are a timely complement to their longstanding mission. A2LA updated SMC’s scope in 2019 when their accreditation was renewed, which enabled them to add these new tests in response to the ongoing global pandemic.
ALS, an international provider of laboratory services headquartered in Australia, has recently expanded the scope of accreditation at their largest US laboratory to include a test for the detection of the novel coronavirus on surfaces. This ALS laboratory is among the first laboratories to be accredited by A2LA for this kind of testing. With many US states beginning to “reopen” the need to test frequently contacted surfaces for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is becoming an even more crucial part of efforts to curtail the spread of the disease. A2LA has been committing extra resources to process and evaluate scope expansions for tests such as these thoroughly and expediently to support the scientific community in fighting this pandemic. Accreditation by an impartial, third-party accreditation body such as A2LA is a critical indicator of the quality of newly produced tests and methods.
Accreditation bodies and food testing laboratories share an important responsibility: both are part of a complex process that ensures the widespread availability of safe, accurately labeled, and contaminant-free food products. Over 40+ years of operation, A2LA has provided accreditation services to hundreds of food testing laboratories and has built enduring professional relationships with many of them. In honor of World Accreditation Day’s 2020 theme, “Accreditation: Improving Food Safety” we collaborated with Microbac Laboratories to highlight their crucial role in the global quality infrastructure and to examine how both Microbac and A2LA contribute to food safety.
As part of ongoing policy developments under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working to establish its own accreditation program for food testing laboratories. This program will be carried out by accreditation bodies (ABs), such as A2LA, that are recognized by the FDA based on criteria established in the FSMA Proposed Rule on Laboratory Accreditation. The same rule establishes the requirements that food testing laboratories must meet to gain accreditation. Although this new rule has been posted for comment since November of 2019, the FDA has recently extended the comment period until July 6th, 2020 to give interested parties additional opportunities to weigh in.
In June of 2018, A2LA initiated a new system for third-party assessment organizations (3PAOs) seeking to become FedRAMP accredited. Under this system, any organization seeking to become an accredited 3PAO must first become accredited to A2LA’s Cybersecurity Inspection Body Program. Organizations accredited to this program will spend approximately one year demonstrating their adherence to the requirements of the cybersecurity program before opting to transition to the FedRAMP program. This two-step process serves to first establish a level of more generalized technical competence in the cybersecurity field before organizations are considered for the more specialized FedRAMP program. We are pleased to announce that San Francisco-based information security company Securisea is the first company to achieve FedRAMP accreditation through this newly implemented A2LA process.
In 1875, representatives of 17 nations gathered in Paris, France to sign the Metre Convention: an agreement that was designed to take measurement standardization out of the hands of any one specific nation. As part of this agreement, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) was created and formalized. The primary role of the BIPM is to standardize and coordinate systems and units of measure around the world, and the BIPM’s significance in the world of science and global trade has grown exponentially over the last 145 years. May 20th of every year, the anniversary of the Metre Convention, is now designated as World Metrology Day, and is used as an opportunity to inform the public of the critical role measurements and measurement consistency plays in the modern world.
Over the course of the last year, a dedicated team of A2LA employees were entrusted with the task of identifying and codifying a set of core values that capture A2LA’s ideals and provide a benchmark for our future endeavors. The five-person group included members from several different A2LA departments, to help lend a diverse perspective to the process. “The values chosen are meant to exemplify A2LA’s culture and what makes our company unique.” Explained Ashley Kamauf, A2LA’s Inspection Body Program Manager and a member of the team responsible for developing the core values. “It was emphasized that the values should not be aspirational, but rather a formal documentation of how we are already operating."
May 8, 2020, Frederick, MD - On May 5th 2020, California’s State Water Resources Control Board announced the adoption of a new set of regulations designed to modernize the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP). These new regulations will require accredited laboratories to implement the NELAC Institute (TNI) 2016 Standard, a nationally recognized standard that covers not only laboratories’ analytical methods, but a broader set of factors including the quality of equipment and supplies they use, and the training of laboratory staff. While some laboratories are already operating under the requirements of the TNI Standard, the majority of the facilities overseen by ELAP will need to undergo a transitionary process to ensure they comply with these new regulations
This week marks one month since the official launch of the A2LA Customer Care Department, and the last entry in our series profiling our attentive and dedicated Customer Care Representatives. Andy Randolph, the most recent of our four hires for the department, shared some information about himself and his experience with A2LA so far.
May 5, 2020, Frederick, MD – In early 2020, A2LA was awarded a three-year contract with the Department of Environmental Quality of the State of Louisiana, making them one of a small group of providers authorized to assess laboratories under the Louisiana Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (LELAP). LELAP is responsible for accrediting environmental laboratories throughout the state of Louisiana, ensuring quality and consistency of reported results across all laboratories within their purview. This provides confidence that data, much of which is submitted to the Department of Environmental Quality or the Department of Natural Resources, is produced using reliable methods.