Quality Assurance

Agri-Food Laboratories has established its analytical services on a reliable quality system developed and updated over the years to comply with developing provincial, national and international standards in testing. Depending on the area of activity, Agri-Food Laboratories has sought and obtained accreditation and/or certification status to monitor its quality system on an ongoing basis.

The following list provides a summary of these programs that Agri-Food Laboratories participates in:

A.  Accreditation programs:

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1. Standard Council of Canada (SCC) accreditation for Feeds and Fertilizers: A total of 18 different tests are in the scope of accreditation that can be accessed at the SCC website (www.scc.ca). This represents our ISO 17025-2005 accreditation. This program is also monitored by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which governs laboratories involved in Food, Feed and Fertilizer testing.

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2. OMAFRA Accreditation for Soils and Greenhouse Media and Solutions: This program is conducted by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, and it monitors laboratories providing service to Ontario farmers and greenhouse growers for soil, plant tissue, manure and greenhouse media and solution testing.



B.  Certification and Inter-Laboratory Testing Programs

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1. AAFCO – American Association of Feed Control Officials: This program is the largest inter-laboratory check sample program in feed testing in North America with close to 400 subscribers. The participation and ongoing successful performance in AAFCO is mandatory to maintain SCC/CFIA accreditation. Agri-Food Laboratories carries out 15 test parameters monthly in this program.

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2. NFTA – National Forge Testing Association certification program: This is the largest inter-laboratory check sample program for forage testing in North America for both NIR and Wet Chemistry methods. The main test parameters include moisture, protein, ADF and NDF.



3. Magruder Check Sample Program: This inter-laboratory check sample program serves the fertilizer testing laboratories. Agri-Food Laboratories participates in Nitrogen, P2O5 and K2O tests in this program, which is a requirement for SCC/CFIA accreditation as well as the CFQAP (Canadian Fertilizer Quality Assurance Program) of the Canadian Fertilizer Institute.

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4. NAPT – Proficiency Testing Program: This program is mainly involved in soil and plant tissue testing. The participation in this program is mandatory for OMAF accreditation in soils and plant tissue.

5. MAP – Manure Analysis Proficiency Program: This is a relatively new inter-laboratory check sample program administered by NAPT since 2002. The tests covered are Nitrogen, Ammonium Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorus, Electrical Conductivity, Zinc and Copper.

6. CAP – Compost Analysis Proficiency Program: A laboratory quality assurance program which is conducted as tri-annual exchanges of three [3] compost materials, each submitted in blind triplicate (3 × 3 × 3 = 27) for each of two testing tiers. Tier I. Inorganic; and Tier II. Inorganic plus Biological. Visit: http://tmecc.org/cap/ for more details.

In addition to the above programs, Agri-Food Laboratories employs an internal qualified control checks as well as split checks to monitor the consistency of the operation on a daily basis. About 10% of the samples analyzed are quality control and split samples. Any deviation from the control limits which are set statistically and monitored via control charts are evaluated and samples reanalyzed after the cause of the deviation is investigated and corrected.

At Agri-Food Laboratories, quality is never compromised in favour of turnaround. However, fast turnaround still remains a feature that we are proud of.