The Certification and Accreditation Administration of China (CNCA) has issued a notice urging the provincial-level bureaus of quality and technical supervision, the entry-exit inspection and quarantine bureaus directly under the AQSIQ, relevant industrial review panels and China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS) to standardize the qualification accreditation of food inspection agencies.
According to the notice, the Administrative Measures for the Qualification Accreditation of Food Inspection Agencies and the Criteria for Qualification Accreditation of Food Inspection Agencies are applicable to the inspection agencies engaged in food inspection, and food inspection agencies/labs are responsible for inspection of food and food-related products with food safety standards developed in place. Food inspection agencies/labs should be those established/registered in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations, or relatively independent inspection institutions which can shoulder legal responsibilities. All of them should have their qualifications accredited. The qualification accreditation doesn’t cover the food producers’ internal labs and labs funded by food producers.
The CNCA ordered that the qualification accreditation should be carried out in line with the Administrative Licensing Law and adhere to the principles of openness, impartiality and fairness. The provincial-level bureaus of quality and technical supervision should develop the relevant database to provide the public with the information on food inspection agencies with accredited qualifications in time, and submit a work report on qualification accreditation to the CNCA each quarter. The technical assessment institutions of the provincial-level bureaus of quality and technical supervision, relevant industrial review panels, and the CNAS should arrange for sufficient human resources and technical personnel to carry out the technical reviews in line with the requirements of the review criteria. The reviewers for qualification accreditation should receive specific trainings and meet the evaluation requirements before holding the position.
All institutions are also urged to strengthen follow-up supervision on food inspection agencies. As of May 1, 2011, food inspection agencies should apply for qualification accreditation and receive assessment in line with the requirements of the review criteria, and only those accredited can be engaged in food inspection. Food inspection agencies that have already obtained the lab qualification accreditation certificate before May 1, 2011 can continue food inspection operations, but they should have the original certificate changed for the new one prior to Nov. 1, 2012.