APHL is working in collaboration with the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) to strengthen and integrate food and feed testing laboratories. This effort is supported by a five-year cooperative agreement from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)to advance the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

The agreement supports food and feed regulatory testing laboratories seeking to achieve, maintain or enhance ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation. Over 70 members from APHL, AAFCO and AFDO are working on the cooperative agreement to advance the creation of a National Integrated Food Safety System (IFSS).

Objectives of the work include:

  • Developing laboratory training programs around accreditation
  • Building a mentoring program for laboratories at various stages of accreditation
  • Enabling direct electronic sharing of analytical data
  • Improving communication among federal, state and local testing laboratories and with their associated regulatory and public health programs
  • Expanding a proficiency testing program for feed laboratories

Some of the accomplishments to date are:

  • Targeted assistance to nine laboratories seeking ISO accreditation without federal funding. Support includes on-site visits, regularly scheduled conference calls, and review of quality manuals, SOPs, methods and document control
  • Hosting of the Food and Feed Laboratory Accreditation Discussion Board, an online forum on how to become accredited to the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standard
  • Web resources to support food and animal feed testing laboratories seeking accreditation. Resources include a repository of over 200 resources under 14 ISO categories with examples of best practices, standard procedures and work plans. Resources are available to all interested laboratories
  • Data Acceptance Workgroup that develops best practices to encourage acceptance and use of testing data by local, state and federal agencies
  • Continuing development of a competency-based, career-spanning training curriculum framework to identify the competencies and training necessary for food and feed laboratory professionals to participate in an integrated laboratory network
  • Spreadsheet of currently available ISO/IEC 17025:2005 training available and updated every six months.
  • GOODSamples (Guidance On Obtaining Defensible Samples) published. This document ensures consistency in the collection and handling of food and feed sampling materials to improve data quality and accuracy   

For more Information, read APHL progress reports from Year One, Year Two and          Year Three of the FDA cooperative agreement.