25th meeting of the EA Laboratory Committee (EA LC) was held in Riga, Latvia, in the period between 7th and 8th March 2013 and was hosted by the Latvian Accreditation Bureau (LATAK).
During the EA LC meeting information and decisions adopted at the previous EA General Assembly (EA GA) meeting were presented given that these were relevant to accreditation of testing and calibration laboratories. Furthermore, information from other EA committees (HHC, EH) and EA working groups (EA WG Health Care Medical Laboratories, EA ILC Testing and EA ILC Calibration) were presented. Update on the upcoming joint meeting of the EA ILC Testing and Calibration EA ILC working groups was presented as these would be held in London in the second half of March.
Final version of the document EA-4/02, Expression of the Uncertainty of Measurement in Calibration was discussed during the meeting and it would be put to vote after minor amendments had been made thereto. In addition, the working groups presented the following documents that were to be modified by members of the relevant EA technical networks - (EA TN Mech/Elec and EA TN Food): EA-4/15, Accreditation for Non-Destructive Testing i EA-4/09, Accreditation of Sensory Testing Laboratories. It is essential for both of the documents that members of the EA LC Committee provide their comments once again before put to formal EA vote.
The draft Guideline for the description of flexible scopes of accreditation in the field of GMO testing produced by the European Network of GMO Laboratories (ENGL) was also presented.
ILAC P10, ILAC Policy on Traceability of Measurement Results that was recently adopted by ILAC is still valid, whereas it raised a series of discussions among the participants. Special emphasis was on a debate regarding the application of the third way to achieve acceptable traceability of measurement (justifiable use, assessment method, the reasons for the application, etc).
Since the EA GA made a decision that the accreditation of PT providers should become a part of the EA MLA, the first draft of the document related to description of the accreditation scope for PT providers was produced by the working group when it was sent to all EA LC members to be discussed.
Stakeholders also had a chance to present activities from the previous period and activities related to the cooperation with the EA. Activities of the ENFSI (European Network of Forensic Science Institutes) were briefly introduced, while a representative of the EDQM (European Directorate for Quality of Medicine and Health Care) presented in detail the activities of joint assessments and analysis of experiences from these assessments performed by EDQM in cooperation with the accreditation bodies of certain European countries (Germany, Austria).
Two workshops on the following subjects were carried out during the meeting: accreditation of reference material producers and opinions and interpretations and opinions as a requirement of ISO/IEC 17025. Both topics are extremely important given that the EA GA decided to incorporate accreditation of reference material producers into the EA MLA, but there is a number of activities that need to be harmonised (reference document, transitional periods for harmonisation, etc.). On the other hand, possibility given to testing laboratories by ISO/IEC 17025 to provide opinions and interpretations in testing reports under certain conditions still remains a dilemma and an “open question” for many accreditation bodies (clear distinction between inspection and certification, part of the accreditation scope or not, special requirements for personnel authorised to give opinions and interpretations, assessment method, etc). Issues related to both topics will also be discussed during the next EA LC meeting.
Ljiljana Markićević and Natalija Jovičić Zarić attended the meeting on behalf of ATS.