The process for obtaining accurate, reliable and consistent laboratory results requires two distinctive steps:
- Sampling: Taking the sample, transport and submission to laboratory
- Testing: Receiving of samples, testing and reporting of results.
If the sample was compromised in any way during the sampling step, the results obtained from the testing laboratory can be seen as questionable and unreliable.
There are various factors that may affect final laboratory results during the sampling process, such as aseptic techniques, sample size, sample packaging, sampling equipment, temperature during transportation, time interval between sampling and testing, competency of samplers, etc.
ISO/IEC 17025:2017 – General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories now (since December 2017) includes the definition of a laboratory as a body that performs one or more of the following activities: testing; calibration and sampling associated with subsequent testing or calibration.
Reliability and accuracy of sampling is one of the biggest challenges experienced by food and related industries and, therefore, VGL Dimensions embarked on the opportunity to obtain ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation for sampling as a stand-alone activity. The only accreditation body that could provide this scope of accreditation is ANSI National accreditation board (ANAB).
In June 2020, VGL Dimensions (Pty) Ltd successfully obtained ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation in the field of sampling for the following scope:
- Sampling of food and feed that includes poultry and poultry products, meat and meat products, fish and fish products, spices and herbs, vegetables and fruits, eggs, nuts, ready-to-eat meals and animal feed stuffs
- Sampling of water that includes potable, treatment works and storage tanks, main distribution, consumer taps, bottled, borehole and wastewater
- Sampling of surfaces that includes surface swabs, hand swabs, equipment swabs, contact paddles and rodac plates
- Sampling of carcasses that includes carcass excision, carcass swabs, carcass rinsing
- Sampling of milk and milk products
VGL Dimensions (Pty) Ltd is an ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accredited sampling organisation and the first of its kind in the services of Sampling. It was established to provide an impartial, reliable service to get the best out of the sample taken and also to benefit customers compliance to various requirements and ensure public safety as a result of independently taken samples.