Forest health lab meets international standards

The work Scion’s Forest Health Reference Laboratory does is of international standard and has recently achieved IANZ Certificate of Accreditation to mark this status.

The newly gained International Organisation for Standardisation/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) 17025:2005 for Biological Testing accreditation provides recognition that the lab is meeting internationally accepted standards of quality, performance, technical expertise and competence.

“Achieving accreditation is something to be proud of,” says laboratory coordinator Debra Bly. “We are the only accredited lab at Scion, and one of the few in the country accredited for fungal and insect identifications.

“We identify fungi and insects from trees for the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), the NZ Forest Owners Association and the general public. MPI itself is accredited and requires its sub-contractors to be accredited. Having confidence in results is important when you are making decisions about biosecurity.

“Getting accreditation has taken five years. The amount of work needed was daunting at first and would not have been possible without the buy-in and support of the whole Forest Protection Team.

“The next step is to extend this way of working into other areas in the lab.”

Dr Beccy Ganley, Research Leader Pathology and Forest Protection, speaks highly of the team. “They have worked incredibly hard to get this accreditation, I’m proud of their effort and the rigorous standards they’ve implemented to get there. We have noticed a lot more of the work MPI is funding these days requires ISO accreditation, and we expect this is going to increase further.”

IANZ is part of the Testing Laboratory Registration Council, an autonomous Crown entity established in 1972, and is New Zealand’s premier accreditation body.