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Cofrac: Artificial intelligence and asbestos detection

Recently, Cofrac* developed a new accreditation scheme for a unique test method based on artificial intelligence to detect asbestos fibers in the air.

The French company ITGA** is specialising in sample and test activities as part of the search for asbestos and other chemical agents. It has been accredited to the NF EN ISO/IEC 17025 standard since 1996 for asbestos. Gradually, in order to follow new regulations and best support its customers, ITGA applied for their accreditation to be extended to capture activities: industrial hygiene, indoor air quality, legionella and lead.

ITGA is also active in research and development. Within this scope, it developed a new test method delegating the detection of asbestos fibers to artificial intelligence: a service incorporated within the framework of air monitoring, in relation to the Public Health and Labor Codes.

To promote this large-scale project, the laboratory wished to accredit this new method, unique to the field. When it judged that the method was mature enough, ITGA asked Cofrac for an extension of accreditation in order to highlight its competence and expertise in asbestos search, and thus reassure its customers about the reliability of its services.

ITGA’s previous requests for extensions of accreditation were based on existing methods. So, for this first specific development of accreditation, Cofrac supported the laboratory. ITGA followed the different stages of the process, until its notification of accreditation in November 2021.

Artificial intelligence for asbestos detection is an innovation that opens the way to other perspectives that Cofrac stands ready to support!

* The French accreditation committee (Cofrac).
** Accreditation 1-5970, detailed list available on www.cofrac.fr


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HKAS introduces new accreditation service for underground utility survey

Like many urban cities around the world, the underground environment of Hong Kong houses complicated and extensive arrays of utility networks. These networks cover sewers, water mains, electricity, gas and telecommunications, etc. To maintain their proper function, it is crucial to conduct regular and effective underground utility (UU) surveys. It is also important to get a precise blueprint of the utility network under a construction site before commencing any underground works.

To improve the quality of underground utility surveys and facilitate planning of underground works, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University has recently developed a series of local test standards that can be utilised for these surveys. The test standards consist of six non-destructive testing methods for surveying, imaging and diagnosis (NDTSID) including (1) electromagnetic pipe cable locating, (2) ground penetrating radar, (3) Laser scanning survey, (4) visual inspection, (5) leak detection by acoustic methods, and (6) flow survey & monitoring for drains/sewers. Conformity assessment bodies may apply these test methods in conducting underground utility survey. To help ensure the quality of these surveys, Hong Kong Accreditation Service (HKAS) has also launched a new accreditation service for NDTSID in November last year. This new programme is based on ISO/IEC 17025 and the supplementary criteria document established by the HKAS Task Force on UU Survey, which is a special expert committee set up under the Accreditation Advisory Board’s Working Party of Construction Material Testing. The supplementary criteria document lays down accreditation requirements specific for NDTSID.

Local government departments, such as those responsible for water supplies and drainage services, are keen on applying NDTSID in their construction projects. They will likely require contractors carrying out these surveys to obtain relevant accreditation. A high demand for such accreditation service is thus anticipated. HKAS has already received some applications for these tests and is actively processing them.

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EURACHEM: 10th Workshop for proficiency testing



Windsor (UK), 25th – 28th September 2023


The EURACHEM Proficiency Testing Working Group (www.eurachem.org), in co-operation with CITAC (www.citac.cc) and EQALM (www.eqalm.org), is organising the 10th event of a series of Workshops addressing current practice and future directions of proficiency testing (PT) and external quality assessment (EQA) in analytical chemistry, microbiology and laboratory medicine.


The workshop will take place at the De Vere Beaumont hotel in Windsor, a town on the River Thames in southeast England, just west of London. It is home to Windsor Castle, a residence of the British Royal Family, built by William The Conqueror in the 11th century. The story of De Vere Beaumont Estate in Old Windsor is a very British one; a tale of democracy, royalty, education and religion. At its heart, sits an 18th-century mansion, a chapel, 75 event spaces and a Georgian white house in 40 acres of parkland grounds. The original house was built for Lord Weymouth but it was during its time as a public school, from 1854 – 1967, that saw most of the estate’s architectural developments.

Technical Programme

The workshop will include training sessions, keynote lectures, short presentations, working group discussions and poster sessions, to enable interactive participation and cross-fertilisation of ideas. The official language of the workshop will be in English. Invited lectures and accepted presentations/posters will be considered, through peer-review, for publication as full papers as a topical focus in an issue of Accreditation and Quality Assurance (Springer Verlag).

Training Sessions

Four training sessions, open to workshop delegates, on the following topics:

  • Basic statistics
  • Further statistics
  • PT scheme design
  • Ensuring the Quality of PT test items

Lectures and Working Group Topics

  • Revision of ISO/IEC 17043
  • Guidance on different methods for setting the standard deviation for proficiency assessment
  • Collusion or falsification of results in PT – why does it happen and how can it be prevented
  • Comparisons of synthetic vs real PT items
  • Emerging trends in PT
  • Risk analysis approach for PT participation

Who should attend?

The workshop will provide an excellent opportunity for PT/EQA scheme organisers, and end-users of PT/EQA (laboratories, accreditation bodies, regulators and the laboratories’ customers) to come together and share their views.


Visit the workshop website to register.

Workshop Secretariat

Adele Collins
Phone: +44 161 762 2555
Email: adele.collins@lgcgroup.com
Website: www.eurachem-pt2023.org


Brian Brookman
Chair Eurachem PT Working Group
LGC, Bury, UK

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ISO/CASCO is holding its 36th Plenary meeting & Workshop from 25-29 April 2022. This year’s event is going to be hosted entirely online and is meant to be an interactive and debate led event. It will alternate formal sessions with open discussions, to cover CASCO technical and policy work, as well as initiatives to strengthen stakeholder engagement. The plenary week will close off with a dialogue session with the ISO and CASCO Leaders, followed by a Workshop, Conformity assessment embracing the present and preparing for the future.

This year’s theme for the World Accreditation Day is about accreditation supporting Sustainability in Economic Growth and the Environment. Sustainability is an issue of prime interest to ISO/CASCO, with its Strategic Alliance and Regulatory Group (STAR) that has been focusing on circular economy. STAR has been working on a deliverable, that will provide insight and concrete examples on how the CASCO Toolbox can support circular economy. When applied to products, processes, services, systems, or claims in the context of circular economy, conformity assessment, including accreditation, can add substance and credibility to statements that specified requirements are fulfilled, thereby, providing confidence in aspects such as recyclability, reusability, reparability, upgradability.

Check out other existing STAR deliverables:
How conformity assessment can help in managing risk for the insurance industry
Standards and conformity assessment delivering supply chain confidence

On the technical side, CASCO has continued to work remotely, with four working groups active in the revision or development of conformity assessment standards. The WG56 has completed the revision of ISO/IEC Guide 60, Conformity assessment – Code of good practice that will be published as ISO/IEC 17060 by the end of April 2022. ISO/IEC 17043, defining general requirements for the competence of proficiency testing providers, has reached the Draft International Standards (DIS) stage and will open for ballot at the end of April.

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NATA Updates

NATA’s 75th Anniversary

Over the 75 years since NATA was founded, Australia has seen unprecedented change and emerging from the shadow of empire, it has become a vibrant, modern, wealthy and independent nation.

Set against a backdrop of a nation in transformation, NATA has played a vital role in assisting Australian industries to evolve and improve, supporting industry and government to grow and modernise our economy, providing confidence in day-to-day products and services for the Australian community and helping underpin trade in competitive global markets.

In our anniversary film, we have endeavoured to present NATA in a way not seen before by using authentic documentary storytelling. As part of this process, we uncovered a deep passion & genuine care for the work they do.

It is these people and all those that have been associated with NATA over 75 years that have created the invisible thread now firmly woven into the fabric of Australian society.

We are NATA and this is our story.


NATA is proud to introduce a new video series designed to bring greater awareness to the ‘behind-the-scenes’ work NATA has been undertaking in Australia over the last 75-years. NATALEE is a 6-episode series that uses gentle humour to showcase the many areas NATA has an impact on in everyday Australian life.

To date 4 episodes have been released as follows:

Video 1 – How I discovered the work NATA does

Video 2 – Hello My Name is NATALEE

Video 3 – Sleepwalking and Talking NATA

Video 4 – Food for Thought

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ISTA Launches its New Website

The International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) is thrilled to announce the launch of its new website: www.seedtest.org.

The improved, modern, and better structured website, mirrors ISTA’s commitment to quality, professionalism, and expertise in a relevant and improved design, highly practical functionalities, user-friendly, and purposeful content.

Through the redesign, the Association provides an upgraded platform, where information can be found faster and tasks completed easier and in a more effective way. Furthermore, the enhanced site structure, and intuitive navigation attains good user experience, which is of paramount importance for every well designed and functional website.

Included in the redesign of the website is the improved Member Search area, providing advanced search criteria for Member Category, type of Test and Method used.

Ordering ISTA Certificates has also been made easier through an automated form.

Technical Committees are presented in a more visual and intuitive layout, while Bookstore contains modern features, allowing for a good shopping experience, aligned with contemporary standards.

Registrations for the GMO Proficiency Test will now be done directly via an online registration form; while the registration process for Events has been generally enhanced, with adapted payment methods for both Annual Events and Workshops.

We invite you to go ahead and explore the new ISTA website and we hope you will enjoy the new user experience!

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OIML activities on digitalisation

1) OIML Digitalisation Task Group (DTG)
2) Joint Statement of Intent (JSI)
3) World Metrology Day (WMD) 2022: “Metrology in the Digital Era”

15th March 2022
International Bureau of Legal Metrology (BIML)

1) OIML Digitalisation Task Group (DTG)
The digital transformation for all organisations is advancing at a rapid pace on a worldwide scale. The OIML, with 125 members in the field of legal metrology is part of this transformation, which will affect all processes and services relating to metrology, standardisation, accreditation and conformity assessment.

An OIML “Digitalisation Task Group” (DTG) has recently been established to examine relevant matters, technological advancements and opportunities related to digital transformation that will benefit the OIML, in cooperation with Quality Infrastructure (QI) partners, based on the Joint Statement of Intent on the digital transformation in the international scientific and quality infrastructure (JSI).

2) Joint Statement of Intent (JSI)
The organisations underpinning international QI have been working together for many decades to ensure the worldwide comparability, interoperability and reliable application of measurement and measurement data for worldwide trade, industry, health, science, and society.

In the future, QI organisations should seek to find a common language for measurement data in digital formats that is not only usable for humans, but that also allows integration into new autonomous digital systems.

By participating in the JSI, the OIML signals that it is interested in shaping the digital future of international QI in its various legal metrology activities, ranging from technical work, the OIML Certification System (OIML-CS) to activities in support of Countries and Economies with Emerging Metrology Systems (CEEMS), based on the international system of units: “The Digital SI Framework”.

3) World Metrology Day (WMD) 2022: “Metrology in the Digital Era”
The theme this year is “Metrology in the Digital Era”. This theme was chosen because digital technology is revolutionising our community, and is one of the most exciting trends in society today.

The 2022 poster was designed in association with the Euro-Asian Cooperation of National Metrological Institutions (COOMET) and the National Scientific Centre “Institute of Metrology”, Ukraine.

On the Resource Website, you may download the Press Release, the Directors’ Message and the poster; the poster is available in PDF format in English and in French, and in Photoshop format in English. The COOMET poster is also published on the Posters page.

Last year’s World Metrology Day was a huge success; we hope to build on that success in 2022.
Please help us to spread the word about World Metrology Day and let the World Metrology Day Team know by email about the events you are organising in your country so that we can include them on the website. For inspiration, you can see the events organised by other NMIs in previous years on the website.

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ISTA : Egypt hosts 33rd ISTA Congress 2022

The International Seed Testing Association takes pleasure in inviting you to its 33rd Congress, to be held in Cairo, Egypt, from 08 to 11 of May 2022.

The Venue of the Congress will be Sheraton Cairo Hotel & Casino.

On Sunday, 08 of May 2022, the Seminar “Advancements and innovation in seed testing: from science to robust test” will take place.

On Monday, 09 of May 2022, there will be the presentations of ISTA technical work.

The next day, Tuesday, 10 of May 2022, ISTA will be hosting the meetings of the Technical Committees in joint and parallel working sessions

During the last day of the Congress, on Wednesday, 11 of May 2022, we will hold ISTA Ordinary General Meeting.

Registration has already opened. For information on the programme, registration fees, and more other details, please click here.


Another important development at this point is that the Seed Symposium ‘Quality Seed for Sustainable Agriculture’ will take place in Athens, Greece, from 02 to 04 of November 2022. Abstract submission for the Symposium will be reopened in May. All authors of already submitted papers for the canceled Symposium in Christchurch, NZ, will be contacted by the ISTA Secretariat.

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ILAC Accreditation committee (AIC) update

As is the nature of international work, we have begun our 3rd year of operation still affected by the COVID-19 pandemic preventing face-to-face meetings. During the pandemic a large pool of items have been handled remotely including revision of almost ten ILAC guides and policies. While we hope that remote meetings will come to an end soon, as there are many challenges that come with remote work, we continue to deal many topics via Zoom meetings.

On the agenda for the meeting 19 April is the:

– Presentation of comments to the draft ILAC G19 for forensics,
– Presentation of the final draft on ILC G24/OIML D10 on calibration intervals developed together with OIML,
– Developments in liaison activities with (among others) the BIPM, OIML, ITU and JCGM,
– Status on the FDIS ISO 15189 expected to arrive May-June 2022; and the
– Status on the DIS ISO 17043 expected to arrive end of April 2022.

This year ISO/IEC 17025:2017 will be 5 years old. That will be celebrated with a workshop at the meeting in Montreal November 2022 allowing thorough discussions on a select number of topics. This includes measurement uncertainty arising from sampling, sampling in calibration, and options A and B for management system and compliance with requirements (and decision rules).

Erik Oehlenschlaeger

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Accreditation supports organic production in Guatemala

Through the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food, the Republic of Guatemala regulates the correct application of organic agriculture legislation, controls the certification bodies for certified organic operators and registers them, and provides third-party recognition that the Guatemalan organic exportable officer has met the required quality standards for each country and territory the products are marketed to. The main export markets for Guatemalan products are: the United States, Europe, and Japan, among others.

Mandatory compliance to a conformity assessment scheme, confirmed through accredited conformity assessment, ensures the traceability and differentiated value of the product and provides confidence for consumers, in the sense that the production system complies with the international requirements for organic classification.

In Guatemala, organic agriculture is an important industry, because it represents a more favourable price for the national producer, promotes connections among those involved and provides healthy food for people to consume. It is friendly to the environment by promoting conservation, appropriate use of natural resources and protection of biodiversity, helping to mitigate the negative effects of climate change.

Currently there are 164 organic operators that include associations, federations, cooperatives and individual producers. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the growth is maintained at an average of 7% per year in production volume, already exceeding 200,000 hectares of arable land. Initially only coffee was offered as an organic product, however, market demand has diversified the Guatemalan organic exportable offer to the following products: cardamom, cacao, macadamia nuts, honey, lettuce, green beans, black tea, papaya, and broccoli, among others.

The mode of cultivation promotes connections between small producers, links more than 60,000 farmers,  and generates approximately 20,000 permanent jobs and more than 80,000 temporary or indirect jobs. The most important markets for the exports are the United States with 80%, the European Union with 15%, and Japan, Canada and Arab countries with 5%.

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