7th Meeting of the Panel on Diagnostics and Quality Assurance

Tbilisi (GE), 2017-01-17/19


The Panel was hosted in Tbilisi at the kind invitation of the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia. The Panel continued its tasks including: work on general protocols on quality assurance and other horizontal issues in diagnosis, review of IPPC protocols, identifying research needs, reviewing national initiatives in the field of diagnostics, suggesting improvements that could be made to the EPPO Databases, reviewing the activities of specialized diagnostic Panels and working to ensure consistency between the different diagnostic protocols proposed for adoption. In particular comments collected throughout the year on the EPPO instructions to authors of diagnostic protocols were reviewed and the instructions were revised. 






Horizontal EPPO Standards in preparation – New Standards

Guidelines on flexible scope in plant health

Mr van de Vossenberg presented the flexible scope system under which the NRC (NL) had recently become accredited. The Panel agreed that a clear description of what flexible scope can be, based on the current experience in the region will help all laboratories in the region with their communication with their accreditation bodies. The NRC has offered to host a workshop on flexible scope. The aim of the Workshop should be to share knowledge on flexible scope from the Netherlands and also from other countries (for example Slovenia, Germany, the UK) that have experience with it and to identify the main components that should be included in an EPPO Standard on Flexible scope. This Workshop will be held on 2017-06-26/28 and followed by a drafting group.


Guidelines on National reference laboratory

The Panel finalised a draft of this Standard which was sent for country consultation shortly after the meeting.


Plans for a Standard on NGS technologies

Presentations were made by Mr van der Lee, Wageningen University (via Skype) and by Ms Ravnikar on projects on the use of NGS technologies for plant pest diagnostics and the recent advances that have been made. A Workshop on the use of NGS technologies for plant pest diagnostics will be held on the 2017-11-22/23 in Bari. Initial work on an EPPO Standard could be initiated there.



Revision of Horizontal Standards

PM 7/76 Use of EPPO Diagnostic protocols

The Panel agreed that it would be useful to add a section on communication with risk managers. This will be drafted for the next meeting.


PM 7/84 Basic requirements for quality management in plant pest diagnosis laboratories

The Panel updated the terminology and made some editorial changes. This version will be presented to the Working Party on Phytosanitary Regulations. If the Working Party accepts that these changes are editorial, and therefore that the Standard does not need to be sent for country consultation, then the revised Standard will be considered as accepted and published in the EPPO Bulletin.


PM 7/98(2) Specific requirements for laboratories preparing accreditation for a plant pest diagnostic activity

The Panel discussed additional performance criteria that could be added along with further statistical analysis when the Standard is revised. A bid for a H2020 project which would provide information for the revision was also presented.



General discussions

Update on other activities within EPPO

An update on the current situation concerning the project for EPPO to examine the integration of Q-bank was also presented.
The dataservices in EPPO Global Database were briefly presented. 
Plans for the EPPO Database on diagnostic expertise, in particular on validation data were discussed. 
Euphresco projects of interest to the Panel were discussed. 
The Working Group on International Validation, and their results (comparing performance criteria used in different institutes) was briefly presented. This group was initiated by ISHI (International Seed Health Initiative) and the EPPO Secretariat was invited to participate.


ISO/CD 13484 Foodstuffs — General requirements for molecular biology analysis for detection and identification of plant pests

An expert working group (subgroup of the Panel) reviewed the latest version of this ISO Standard. A document providing feedback/comments was finalised in order that it could be circulated to NPPOs in the region for discussion with their ISO bodies before voting on this Standard.