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.
By Scott Moorhead, A2LA Marketing Intern Although A2LA is best known for their commitment to excellence in the field of accreditation, their core values also focus on supporting the community and providing leadership to young professionals. For several years, A2LA has offered a summer internship program to college students who intend to work in fields such as business, human resources, accreditation, government relations, and IT. Each intern is placed into a department that corresponds to the field of their choice, and given a staff mentor who helps them learn the real-world implementation of everyday skills in the office setting.
On August 4th 2020 A2LA was granted approval to perform assessments on behalf of The New Hampshire Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NH ELAP), which provides accreditation for environmental laboratories, both in New Hampshire and out-of-state. NH ELAP accreditation ensures that the results of covered tests, analyses, and measurements are sufficiently accurate, precise and consistent. This is the eighth state environmental accreditation program for which A2LA is now authorized to provide assessments.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Consolidated Audit Program (DOECAP) is a component of the DOE’s Analytical Services Program, which focuses on management of environmental regulatory compliance programs, remediation, clean-up efforts, and waste management. DOECAP helps conduct assessments of environmental analytical laboratories through the DOECAP-Accreditation Program. Working with the Department of Defense, the DOECAP program has adopted the Quality Systems Manual Version 5.3 as their governing standard and has also begun to rely on three ILAC recognized third party accreditation bodies, such as A2LA, to perform the assessments of the analytical laboratories. A2LA has been recognized by the DOE to grant accreditation for the DOECAP program since 2017.
On June 10, 2020 Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab), based in Clearwater, Florida, expanded their scope of accreditation to cover environmental testing for SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19, and the test developed by EDLab is designed to determine virus presence and persistence on hard surfaces. This is particularly applicable to doors, tables, elevator buttons, and other frequently touched surfaces that have the potential to transmit coronavirus in shared spaces. EDLab was among the first A2LA-accredited laboratories to become accredited for this type of testing, which is an important part of the effort to control the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate risks associated with using shared spaces.
A2LA has extended their signatory status with the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) mutual recognition arrangement (MRA) to include reference material producers (RMPs) under the standard ISO 17034. This means that A2LA’s ISO 17034 accreditation program is now internationally recognized and has been confirmed to meet ILAC’s globally accepted criteria. A2LA has been a signatory of the ILAC MRA since 2000 and this extension was finalized on July 23, 2020. The Reference Materials Producers Accreditation Program is the sixth A2LA accreditation program recognized by ILAC.
Do you work for a water or wastewater testing lab in California? If so, grab your pen and paper because there are changes you need to make note of. Even if you’re not in California, you need to pay attention because this change is likely to affect you in the future. On May 5, 2020 the State Water Resources Control Board adopted new regulations to revamp the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP). This new regulation will affect the over 650 laboratories overseen by ELAP, which regulates testing of drinking water, wastewater discharges and hazardous waste clean up sites throughout the state of California.
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.