The legalization of cannabis has become prevalent among various states in America, despite being prohibited at the federal level. Today, the medical sector has employed cannabis to treat patients with varying conditions like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, hepatitis c, glaucoma, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
This has necessitated regulatory measures, including testing before production to consumption, to promote safety among its users. These regulations vary from state to state, requiring a third-party audit, such as qualifying for the ISO 17025 accreditation as part of the licensing. Below are practical tips that laboratories can employ in preparation for certification.
- Start the preparations earlier.
Preparing for an audit may take several weeks or even months, depending on the set standards that a laboratory aims to achieve. If a lab offers a basic testing regimen, little time may go into prior preparations than analytical laboratories.
Have a comparison list that states the eventual audit list against your current laboratory operations to identify what you need to improve and estimate the time frame required in your arrangement. Identifying problem areas prior ensures that nothing is left out when enhancing the quality of operations.
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Besides ensuring that you comply with quality standards, nurturing a sense of leadership, management and conjoined effort among the staff are crucial.
- Notify your staff of the accreditation
Getting ready for accreditation can be a significant undertaking, especially for a facility that has not gone through before. Focusing on teamwork maximizes the chances of performing well in an audit. This includes informing all staff on what lies ahead and the need to ensure quality is upheld.
Be open about what the process forward involves and the work required during the preparation. The expectations should be realistic and match the period you have. There should be a commitment from the top management across the lab to ensure staff cooperation. Having the support of those in high-level managerial positions facilitates a better working environment and sufficient workforce, resources and finances.
- Organize important documents
Auditors require up-to-date documentation, including standard operating procedures, a quality manual, a scope of accreditation, training records and a record of testing and calibration procedures. Ensuring you have all these documents in place gives the auditors a good impression of your facility and will save you much time during the assessment.
Having all the necessary documents equally translates to good organization, which is crucial in identifying gaps in the documentation or information that is not up to date. Instead of manually sourcing for these documents, you can use a laboratory information management system (LIMS). LIMS systems support easy entry, validation of test results data, and prove data integrity which is a plus during a third-party audit.
- Consider an external pre-assessment
A pre-assessment or a mock audit may not be essential, but it is still beneficial to estimate a lab’s performance during the actual assessment. This can be done after an internal audit where the team uses a copy of the official audit checklist, holding the laboratory to approximately the same high standards as a third-party audit.
You can get assistance from external consultancy firms to get audit services as part of the preparation. Since the auditors are experienced, external assessment helps identify problem areas that the internal inspectors may have missed.
While they are not the official audit team, bringing in external teams results in seriousness within the staff and promotes quality performance. Here, employees can practice how to answer questions from an auditor and minimize any anxiety they may have.
- Verify quality improvements and set higher goals
To attain and maintain accreditation, you need to ensure there are no faults in your documents and the updated work requirements. This means going through all your documents and ensuring the dates match the activities to avoid conflicting information.
Quality is not a one-time occurrence but a series of actions. Your laboratory can only be accredited for ISO 17025 if the facility has demonstrated competence for quality testing. However, quality does not stop upon accreditation – keep developing new ideas to enhance work quality and not settle for the status quo.
To demonstrate technical competency, accreditation for cannabis testing laboratories has become a necessity. It is best to work with quality facilities for consistent laboratory services. Botanacor labs analyze 15 cannabinoids, and you can trust their broad range of tests to obtain high-quality products.