FERA gains accreditation for plant health inspection

The UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) has awarded the UK's first accreditation for plant health inspection to the Food & Environment Research Agency (FERA).

FERA is now accredited for both plant health inspection and plant health diagnostics. The process involved assessment of the knowledge and experience of the inspectors, the breadth of their training, and co-operation with other organisations to determine and prioritise risks from pests and diseases.

The assessors looked at inspection methods and checked their compliance with EU directive requirements. Internal performance monitoring, quality assurance procedures and working hours were also assessed.

FERA director of operations Mike Wray said: "The UK imports thousands of different plant materials every year, some of which are potential carriers of organisms that are injurious to indigenous plants or pose a threat to the delicate balance of the ecosystems.

"Plant health inspection activities are therefore essential to reducing risks of importing viruses, viroids, bacteria, fungi, insects, mites and nematodes. Achieving accreditation to ISO/IEC 17020 demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the quality of our inspectors' work."

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