Lab Matters Winter 2017 | Page 30

food safety

APHL , AAFCO Improve Quality in Animal Feed Testing Laboratories

by Robyn Randolph , specialist , Food Laboratory Accreditation

Since 2012 , APHL has been working with partner organizations through a US Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) cooperative agreement to build an integrated laboratory system to advance the safety of food and animal feed . In particular , this cooperative agreement has the added benefit of strengthening APHL ’ s relationship with the Association of American Feed Control Officials ( AAFCO ). APHL and AAFCO are actively working together to create guidance and improve the quality systems in feed testing laboratories .

Focused on animal feed , AAFCO works with regulatory stakeholders to establish model bills , regulations and policy related to feed safety , quality and effectiveness . APHL ’ s work with AAFCO is spearheaded by Nancy Thiex , an AAFCO consultant with over three decades of experience in analytical science and laboratory management . With Thiex ’ s expertise and a cadre of APHL members , the associations have worked together to create several products focused on quality improvement that are of great benefit to animal feed testing laboratories .
Released in October 2015 , GOODSamples ( Guidance on Obtaining Defensible Samples ) is a guidance document that outlines a scientific and systematic approach to sampling so that the analytical data generated is both representative and defensible . Through cooperative agreement funding , six sampling trainings / workshops and three sampling pilot events based on GOODSamples principles have been held throughout the country .
Proficiency Testing Program
Proficiency testing is a crucial part of maintaining quality in the laboratory . AAFCO ' s Proficiency Testing Program ( PTP ), now compliant with ISO 17043 , has been expanded to support laboratories testing feeds , feed ingredients and pet foods with four unique proficiency testing schemes that provide performance assessment for laboratory test results .
Quality Assurance / Quality Control ( QA / QC ) Guidelines
The QA / QC Guidelines were published in 2014 as a supplement for feed testing laboratories operating in compliance with ISO 17025:2005 . The Guidelines can be used to design and implement a quality management system that meets the needs of their laboratory and regulatory program . The Guidelines can be utilized to improve laboratory operations in areas such as :
• Traceability , including documentation of chemicals , reagents and solutions , which allows materials to be traced to a specific certificate of analysis or lot number .
• Internal audits , both formal and informal ( peer audits ) is a preventative approach that allows the laboratory to identify non-conformances more quickly — and before an external auditor identifies them .
• Management review , which brings consistency in communications between operations and administrators as successes , non-conformances and improvements are well documented .
In recognition of Thiex ’ s efforts on these cooperative agreement projects and more , she was awarded the 2016 APHL “ On the Front Line ” Award for her significant contributions to the advancement of public health science and practice and building consensus on the issue of food and feed sampling . Thiex continues to be a valuable collaborator and partner for APHL and its members .
A fully integrated food safety system acknowledges the interconnectedness of human health to animal health . Many APHL member laboratories that perform animal feed testing are working to improve quality through ISO accreditation , and a strengthened relationship with AAFCO allows for members ’ needs to be more clearly voiced .
A fully integrated food safety system acknowledges the interconnectedness of human health to animal health .
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