9th Meeting of the Panel on Diagnostics and Quality Assurance

Maisons-Alfort (FR) 2019-02-13/15



The Panel on Diagnostics and Quality Assurance was hosted in Maisons-Alfort, near Paris, at the kind invitation of ANSES. The Panel was held directly after the Workshop on the revision of PM 7/98 (Maisons-Alfort, FR, 2019-02-11/13).




Revision of three horizontal Standards

The main objectives of the meeting were to prepare revisions of three horizontal Standards: 


PM 7/98(3) Specific requirements for laboratories preparing accreditation for a plant pest diagnostic activity
A new ISO 17025 Standard was approved on 2017-12-13 and its implementation will be required by 2020-12-01. Therefore, it was required to carefully check the new ISO Standard to consider what modifications are needed in PM 7/98 to provide guidance to plant health laboratories applying for accreditation according to this new ISO Standard. The Panel divided into groups to work on different parts of the Standard. It was agreed to finalise the new version in a subsequent Expert Working Group (EWG) to answer some specific questions raised and to add more general information on risk analysis and to check the pest specific tables. About 10 members of the Panel volunteered to participate in this EWG which will be held in May.

Training Workshop: It was suggested that a Workshop could be held in Spring 2020 on ISO 17025 transition from the 2005 to the 2017 version. The Panel agreed that this was a good idea. Information will be sent to countries when details are finalized.


PM 7/84 Basic requirements for quality management in plant pest diagnosis laboratories
It was discussed that many cross references to PM 7/84 are included in PM 7/98. Although this was relevant when the earlier versions of PM 7/98 were prepared (many laboratories were in the process of establishing quality systems but not all were aiming for accreditation), the situation is now different. The Panel consequently agreed that it was more relevant for PM 7/98 to become a standalone document. PM 7/84 should not be revised and remain as a Standard on general quality systems.


PM 7/77 Documentation and reporting on a diagnosis
One group from the workshop made suggestions for the revision of this Standard. Suggestions had also been made to update the Standard to include several points that were relevant for High Throughput Sequencing (HTS) (also called Next Generation Sequencing). The Panel briefly considered which of the points are required for accreditation and which are required for all tests. Suggestions for reformatting were made by the EPPO Secretariat and a revised version was sent to all Panel members to collect and collate comments before the EWG (above) and also gather feedback on the points added for HTS.




EPPO instructions to authors of diagnostic protocols

The Panel considered several suggestions made by the specialized Diagnostic Panels and decisions were made on all of these, for example to clarify the text. The Panel agreed to add the line ‘The authors are encouraged to deposit reference material in international reference collections where applicable.’ Recommendations were also made to add some guidance, e.g. on controls at the run and sample level. This will be prepared by the EPPO Secretariat and specific experts and a new version will be prepared and put online.


Update on other activities within EPPO
Plans for the EPPO Database on diagnostic expertise, in particular on validation data were briefly discussed related to EPPO’s participation in the Valitest project. An update on the current situation concerning the integration of Q-bank data into EPPO Databases was also presented.