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First Company to Gain ISO/IEC 17043 Accreditation For Cannabis Proficiency Testing Announced

By Alexander Beadle

Published: Dec 30, 2018   
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Phenova, Inc. is a provider of proficiency testing products and services, quality control standards and a manufacturer of certified reference materials based in the city of Golden, Colorado. It has been recently announced by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) that Phenova’s ISO/IEC 17043 accreditation for proficiency testing has been expanded to include cannabis proficiency testing.

The expansion makes Phenova the A2LA’s first ISO/IEC 17043 accredited provider for cannabis proficiency testing.

A2LA cannabis proficiency testing accreditation

Gaining an ISO/IEC accreditation from the A2LA is a significant achievement for any third-party laboratory, and can be thought of as akin to getting a golden seal of approval. It confirms that the laboratory in question has met the standards for quality set out by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

ISO/IEC 17043 accreditation confirms that the proficiency testing provider in question has proper management, quality, and technical systems in place to ensure the lab can routinely provide accurate and reliable analysis. It also ensures that the lab’s administrative process is up to scratch in terms of making sure that all reporting of results is standardized and monitored, as well as ensuring that all paperwork related to the carrying out of analysis is in order.

ISO/IEC accreditations are re-assessed at various intervals following their first award, ensuring that any laboratory holding ISO/IEC accreditation status continues to maintain their high standards.

Phenova’s reaction to the expansion

Ty Garber, the Director of New Business Development for the Cannabis and Food and Beverage Markets at Phenova, expressed in the A2LA press release Phenova’s pride at having their existing proficiency testing accreditation extended.

“Phenova has utilized A2LA accreditation services for over a decade and we are proud to be the first A2LA, ISO/IEC 17043 accredited Proficiency Testing Provider for cannabis-related testing in the United States.”

“Our Cannabis Proficiency Testing products and services are experiencing high demand across North America and we are fortunate to offer our expertise in proficiency testing to client laboratories and regulatory agencies in their joint efforts to ensure cannabis product quality and safety.”

Garber also notes that while Phenova has been working with A2LA to maintain accreditation in other industries, this is their first venture into the cannabis testing industry. He explains that Phenova has been working with laboratories, regulatory bodies, and various accreditation agencies to develop specialty proficiency testing programs that can fulfill the specific needs of their client by tailoring their programs to the specific regional regulations or logistical challenges that the client might face in their environment.

“By working with the laboratories and stakeholder agencies, we have been able to develop and operate Proficiency Testing Programs based on real marijuana matrices, especially where the matrix creates specific analytical challenges. This approach has proven to be very beneficial for everyone involved, and we are working diligently to expand these efforts.”

Statement from A2LA

Trace McInturff, the Senior Director of Accreditation Services at A2LA expressed, also in the press release, that the extension of Phenova’s ISO/IEC 17043 to include cannabis proficiency testing would fill a “significant need” in the industry, and would allow Phenova to become a valuable part of the conformity assessment process for accredited cannabis laboratories.

“A2LA has a wealth of Proficiency Testing Provider accreditation expertise and was very instrumental in establishing the initial ILAC Proficiency Testing Provider accreditation requirements which ultimately became the basis for ISO/IEC 17043. Proficiency testing providers looking to expand their scheme offerings into new areas have confidence in A2LA providing an assessment team with the necessary technical competence to perform a robust assessment and identify any issues before accredited samples are released to the public.”

“A2LA is excited to announce the expansion of Phenova’s existing ISO/IEC 17043 Proficiency Testing Provider scope of accreditation to become the first A2LA accredited Proficiency Testing Provider for cannabis. This milestone adds to the positive historical relationship between Phenova and A2LA that dates back to 2005 when A2LA implemented a new TNI SSAS program for Proficiency Testing Providers and A2LA performed one of the first assessments of its kind at Phenova.”

Alexander Beadle

Science Writer

Alexander Beadle has been working as a freelance science writer since 2017 and has covered the cannabis industry for Analytical Cannabis since 2018. He has also written for our sister publication, Technology Networks, and the cannabis industry consultant firm Prohibition Partners, among others. Alexander holds a Master's in Materials Chemistry from the University of St. Andrews, where he won a Chemistry Purdie scholarship, and conducted research into zeolite crystal growth mechanisms and the action of single-molecule transistors.


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