27th meeting of the Laboratory Committee (LC) of the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA) was held in the period between 11th March and 13th March 2014 in Valletta, Malta. The minutes from the 26th EA LC meeting held in September 2013 in Brussels were adopted after the opening of the meeting and introduction of the delegates, whereas it was reported on the status of the last EA LC meeting’s activities (review of the EA-4/15; activities related to the MLA as regards PT providers and producers of reference materials; activities as regards a follow-up to the document entitled “Opinions and interpretations”).
EA EX and EA GA-related information were presented given that these pertained to EA LC issues. Most of the time was spent to discuss reissuance of test reports when the brand/product names are changed (reference to cl.5.10.9 of ISO/IEC 17025) since EA GA postponed the final decision-making as regards the document proposed by the EA LC. The EA GA decision requires the drafting of the “position paper” with a special emphasis on the clarification between activities performed by accredited laboratories and those performed by laboratories as notified bodies.
Accreditation of sampling methods as a stand-alone activity was discussed briefly having in mind different policies of accreditation bodies. A conclusion of the ILAC WG was mentioned given the possibility to accredit sampling methods as a stand-alone activity. It was decided that the discussion thereon should be continued, if necessary, following the conclusions from the following EA HHC meeting given that this issue is within the EA HHC competence.
ILAC activities were reviewed given that these related to the MLA/RMPs as a follow-up to the review of the ILAC G19 document (accreditation in the field of forensic science).
Stakeholders presented their activities from the previous period, and those carried out in cooperation with EA: continued cooperation with IRMM (Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements) especially in the field of PT schemes for testing activities; dr Urlich Rose presented the activities (joint assessments) carried out by EDQM (European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare) in cooperation with national accreditation bodies (NABs); ERRO (The European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation) activites were presented to include flexible scopes, and activities aiming at resolving problems as regards availability of PT schemes in this field; EURACHEM presented the information about the new issue of the document on microbiological examination that was expected to replace the EA-4/10 document (note: final decision on withdrawal of the EA-4/10 document is expected at May EA GA meeting).
Moreover, reports of the following EA LC management and working groups were presented:
-WG Health Care - POCT (Point of care testing) accreditation document is entering the next EA comment phase; AB training in the field of the new edition of ISO 15189 will be delivered in June this year;
- WG ILC Testing and WG ILC Calibration – a five-year plan with highlighted PT schmes was adopted together with made decisions on evaluation of results of participation in these activities during peer evaluations;
- TN Calibration – there were no special activities except for the exchange of opinions as regards a few questions raised via EA intranet;
- TN Environment – Committee members were informed about the CEN intention to transform CEN/TS 15675 into a standard;
- TN Mechanical & Toys Testing – comments and remarks were sent in the previous period to tackle the last version of the revised EA-4/15 document; the WG will continue to work on harmonisation of this document having in mind a fact that the requirements of the new version of ISO/IEC 17020 were incorporated into the existing proposal, that the existing proposal contains references to a large number of technical standards which is necessary having in mind the character and requirements related to NDT testing/inspection and, as the most important, requirements related to certification/approval of persons performing this type of activity will be better defined having in mind the lack of a harmonised approach among EA members and existing national requirements;
- TN Food and Feed – some EA members presented a proposal as regards drafting of a document on pesticide testing accreditation; a survey among EA LC members will be conducted after a final decision as regards this proposal to check the need for having such a document;
- TN Forensics - Committee members were informed about the CEN TC 419 activities as regards the development of the new standard in the field of forensic science;
- TFG RMP PTP – a proposal to draft the EA document on RMP accreditation was adopted, and a proposal to withdraw the EA-2/09 document;
The Working Group will continue performing activities to draft the EA - h/hh – Guidance on Assessing Opinions and Interpretations despite evidently different NAB interpretations of the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025.
Having in mind that calculation of uncertainty of measurement is challenging in many fields of testing, a discussion took place to review a requirement to put in place a policy on estimation of uncertainty of measurement (22.214.171.124 – 126.96.36.199 of ISO/IEC 17025) and mode of reporting thereon (188.8.131.52 of ISO/IEC 17025). Discussion results will be reviewed at the ILAC meeting dedicated to amending of ILAC-G17:2002 Introducing the Concept of Uncertainty of Measurement in Testing in Association with the Application of the Standard ISO/IEC 17025.
Natalija Jovičić Zarić MSc and Ljiljana Markićević attended the meeting on behalf of ATS.