T4-11 Integration and Public Health Protection as Outcomes of Food Laboratory Accreditation

Monday, July 10, 2017: 4:30 PM
Room 16 (Tampa Convention Center)
Shari Shea , Association of Public Health Laboratories , Silver Spring , MD
Robyn Randolph , Association of Public Health Laboratories , Silver Spring , MD
Introduction: FDA has invested over $50 million towards the accreditation of state laboratories to the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standard. Accreditation is an integral part of mutual reliance and a critical element of an Integrated Food Safety System (IFSS). A fully functioning IFSS allows for acceptance of state data in federal enforcement actions and means FDA and states can act efficiently in the prevention of foodborne illnesses.

Purpose: This session will describe the impact of collaborative efforts by FDA, the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO), and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) to promote laboratory accreditation for the nation’s food and feed laboratories.

Methods: In 2012, FDA awarded a cooperative agreement to APHL, AFDO, and AAFCO to facilitate long-term improvements to the national food and feed safety system by supporting laboratories seeking ISO 17025 accreditation. That year, FDA also funded 31 laboratories that perform food testing for state regulatory programs to achieve ISO accreditation. In 2015, six more food laboratories and 20 feed laboratories received ISO funding. In 2016, FDA funded an additional feed laboratory. Additionally, a structured accreditation support program was established within FDA to provide guidance and technical assistance to the funded laboratories.

Results: As of Oct 2016, 22 FDA-funded laboratories have either achieved or expanded their scopes of accreditation. Active monitoring of cooperative agreement deliverables shows that the original FDA-funded food laboratories are on track to achieve or expand their accreditations by August 2017. As direct results of accreditation and the development of sampling plans required by the ISO grants, specific success stories from several states will be presented.

Significance: Investment in laboratory accreditation helps protect public health by ensuring that regulatory agencies can act quickly on high quality analytical data from accredited laboratories when those laboratories detect a problem in the food supply. Additionally, routine food product sampling agreements have proven very valuable and effective.