Sampling is an integral part of our daily lives. The water we drink, the food we consume, and the products we buy are monitored through sample selection and subsequent testing. Testing every product or object isn’t always feasible because of time or economic or physical limitations. Sampling is done to ensure that an object conforms to specific requirements that make objects safe for consumers. Since sampling is so valuable, it is important to understand how standalone sampling organizations work and how they are accredited to ensure conformity.
What is a Standalone Sampling Organization?
As defined by the ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation requirements, a standalone sampling organization is considered a laboratory whose primary activity is to perform sampling functions that supports testing. They may also perform measurements associated with the collection of samples in order to provide an appropriate sample for subsequent testing. The quality of sampling is assured with competent personnel and established methods and procedures put into place by the standalone sampling organization, this may include proficiency testing, where applicable.
The sampling method, based on appropriate statistical methods, addresses the controlled factors to ensure the validity of testing results. The sampling methods must describe, according to ISO/IEC 17025:
- The selection of samples or sites
- The sampling plans
- The preparation and treatment of samples
The standalone sampling organization must also retain records of the samples, which are detailed in ISO/IEC 17025.
With sampling, measurement accuracy or uncertainty of sampling equipment can affect the validity of the results. This can be due to sampling error or calibration of sampling equipment. To better ensure validity, the metrological traceability of the sampling results is required to be traceable through either an accredited calibration laboratory or a National Metrology Institute (NMI).
Management System Options
Sampling organizations that claim conformity with ISO/IEC 17025:2017 section 8.1.3 option B will demonstrate that they have a management system that complies with ISO 9001 and that they can support the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2017. ANAB will verify compliance with representative sampling and review objective evidence against clauses 8.2 to 8.9 of the standard. If the sampling results in non-conformities, non-conformities will be written against clause 8.1.3 and the relevant clauses 8.2 to 8.9 of ISO/IEC 17025:2017.
Laboratories that are classified as standalone sampling organizations through ANAB accreditation assure that their methods of sampling are impartial and proficient. This brings a competitive advantage for the laboratory and makes the world a safer place for consumers and businesses. To learn more about the ANAB Accreditation Process for Laboratories, visit our free webcast or accreditation manual for more information.
To read more about the importance of sampling, please visit our blog post, The Importance of Sampling.