Is the process in which samples are collected important? Why can’t I, as a PRF or facility, collect the samples myself and give them to a laboratory for testing?
The process in which samples are collected is important for two reasons:
- Proper sample collection ensures the accuracy of results, especially if they are to be used as a representation for batch testing certification.
- Allowing a PRF or Facility to collect the samples that are used for batch testing does not comply with NELAC or ISO Standards or Quality Systems that laboratories must follow.
Specific rules regarding sample collection are outlined in both NELAC and ISO Standards. NELAC section 5.7.1 states, “The laboratory shall have a sampling plan and procedures for sampling when it carries out sampling of substances, materials, or products for subsequent testing or calibration. The sampling plans, as well as the sampling procedure, shall be available at the location where sampling is undertaken. Sampling plans shall, whenever reasonable, be based on appropriate statistical methods. The sampling process shall address the factors to be controlled, to ensure the validity of the test and calibration results.”
Green Leaf Lab requires that staff members perform random sampling collection procedures in compliance with ISO and NELAC standards. This ensures accuracy in results and consistency with our testing methods. This ensures that we, at Green Leaf Lab, comply with ISO and NELAC Standards and follow a legitimate Quality System. This also allows PRFs and facilities to know that the test results are precise, reliable for their patients and caregivers, and comply with the law.
When choosing a testing laboratory, ask what collection procedures and statistical methods they use and why the laboratory has elected to follow those procedures.