The quality and accuracy of the tests conducted is of paramount importance. All other factors, including speed of service, value for money, count for nothing if the results are wrong.
To ensure accuracy day in, day out, Sciantec has a robust internal quality system. At the heart of this system is accreditation by UKAS to the internationally recognised standard for competence – ISO/IEC 17025:2005. UKAS accreditation is specific to particular sample types and methods. The accreditation we hold covers a range of chemistry, NIR and microbiological tests in the animal nutrition and food sectors.
Sciantec is also approved by DEFRA under the Animal By-Products Regulations 2011, by the Agricultural Industries Confederation under the Trade Assurance Scheme for Combinable Crops (TASCC) and by the GAFTA Trade Assurance Scheme.
Sciantec also participates fully in a range of proficiency testing schemes,
Laboratory quality control and assurance standards are essential if data generated is to have meaning and value.
Sciantec has systems and protocols in place to assure the quality of all its analytical data. Quality assurance follows the sample from receipt, throughout its analysis, to the point at which results data are reported. It also covers the laboratory’s analytical and data management systems.
United Kingdom Accreditation Service
ISO 17025:2005 is the British, European and International Standard for quality assurance in analytical laboratories. In the UK, laboratories claiming compliance with this standard are inspected and accredited by UKAS. Accreditation also means that the laboratory’s management systems meet the principles of ISO 9001:2000. Many laboratories achieve ISO 9001:2000 but this certification should not be confused with full UKAS accreditation to the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standard.
The full standard covers quality control procedures and method specific procedures. Although laboratories achieving the standard are regarded as UKAS accredited, accreditation can only be claimed for individual methods that have been inspected and approved by UKAS.
A list of accredited methods is given on Sciantec’s UKAS schedule.
Proficiency Testing (PT) Schemes
Any laboratory which becomes UKAS accredited to ISO 17025:2005 must demonstrate its ongoing competence by participating in appropriate Proficiency Testing schemes such as FAPAS (Food Analysis Performance Assessment Scheme), FEPAS (Feed Examination Performance Assessment Scheme) and VLA VETQAS - Proficiency Testing for Veterinary Laboratories.
Samples containing unknown levels of compounds are sent out three or four times a year to the accredited facilities. Laboratories must analyse the samples for the specified analytes and report the results back to the PT Scheme Coordinator.
Each participating laboratory subsequently receives a report containing the results from all participants. Individual laboratories participating in the scheme are provided with a code enabling them to identify their own performance. They are NOT able to specifically identify any other laboratory's results by name.
Individual results are assessed against the mean value that is set by the scheme coordinator and the results are deemed ‘acceptable' if their statistically calculated Z scores are within < 2 > of the assigned value.
At the annual inspection by UKAS, the laboratory's results from each PT Round will be assessed for ongoing competence. Consistently poor results could result in a particular method being removed from its Accreditation Schedule.
Sciantec participates in the Performance Testing schemes of:
- FAPAS (Food Analysis Performance Assessment Scheme)
- FEPAS (Feed Examination Performance Assessment Scheme)
- Forage Analysis Assurance Ring Tests administered by the FAA
- GAFTA Analysts scheme
- MAPS (Malt Analytes Scheme)
- United Kingdom GrainTesting Network
- AAFCO - Association of American Food Control Officials
- QWAS - Quality in Water Analysis Scheme
- Romer Labs Mycotoxins Check Sample Survey (Sciantec now has full UKAS accreditation for mycotoxins)
- AFPS - Animal Feeds Proficiency Scheme
- Nabim - (National Association of British and irish Millers) Mill Intake Laboratory Proficiency Scheme
- VLA VETQAS - Proficiency Testing for Veterinary Laboratories
- WGN - World Grain Network Ring Check Scheme
WEPAL - Wageningen Evaluating Programmes for Analytical Laboratories - (IPE - International Plant-Analytical Exchange)