12th Meeting of the EPPO Panel on Diagnostics and Quality Assurance
The EPPO Panel on Diagnostics and Quality Assurance met by videoconference. The planned face-to-face meeting was cancelled as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. 20 Panel members and 2 observers participated to the meeting.
Revision of horizontal EPPO Diagnostic Standards
The Panel prepared the revision of one Diagnostic Standard. The Panel also discussed the need for revision of other Diagnostic Standards and of documents associated to Diagnostic Standards.
PM 7/122 Guidelines for the organization of interlaboratory comparisons by plant pest diagnostic laboratories
The revision of PM 7/122 was prepared by a drafting team composed of experts from ANSES (FR), CREA (IT), ILVO (BE), NIB (SI) and NRC-NPPO (NL) based on an outcome from the VALITEST EU project and on the experience gained by EURLs in the past 2 years. Among other things, additional information on the composition of the panel of samples and on the statistical analysis of the results of interlaboratory comparison was added. The Panel reviewed the document which will be sent for country consultation in March 2022.
PM 7/147 Guidelines for the production of biological reference material
Following a request from the Dutch NPPO at the Working Party in 2021, the Expert Working Group (EWG) in charge of this Standard composed of experts from AGES (AT), FERA (GB), JKI (DE) and from all the EURLs (including experts from ANSES (FR) and NRC-NPPO (NL)) discussed in January 2022 the need to include more guidance on the use of the descriptors for different type of reference materials. The EWG concluded that more guidance on the use of descriptors was not needed at this point. However, the EWG recommended that the EPPO Secretariat should contact the EA to clarify that EPPO Standards may in some case allow flexibility and should be interpreted as such by accreditation bodies. The Panel reviewed and endorsed the conclusions of the EWG.
PM 7/98 Specific requirements for laboratories preparing accreditation for a plant pest diagnostic activity
The Panel discussed the revision of the table comparing the terminology used in EPPO Diagnostic Standards with the terminology used in other international Standards/Documents (ISO, ISTA, APS). The revised document will be referred to in PM 7/98 through the publication of an addendum.
PM 7/76 Use of EPPO Diagnostic protocols
The Panel discussed the revision of the definitions of diagnostic sensitivity and diagnostic specificity and the need to specify that tests are sometimes selected only based on literature. The revisions will be proposed by the EPPO Secretariat as an addendum of PM 7/76 and will be sent for country consultation after consultation of the Panel. The Panel also discussed the need for revision of this Standard and concluded that a revision should be considered once the Standard on the considerations for the use of High Throughput Sequencing (HTS) in plant health diagnostics is adopted.
New EPPO Diagnostic Standards discussed during the meeting
Draft Standard on considerations for the use of High Throughput Sequencing in plant health diagnostics
A draft Standard on considerations for the use of HTS in plant health diagnostics was prepared by a drafting team composed of experts from NVWA (NL), FERA (GB), JKI (DE), ULG (BE) and the Finnish Food Safety Authority Research Department (FI) based on an outcome from the VALITEST EU project . The Panel reviewed the document which will be sent for country consultation in March 2022.
Future priorities for revision and future programme for Standards
PM 7/130 Guidelines on the authorization of laboratories to perform diagnostic activities for regulated pests
The Panel discussed the need for revision of this diagnostic protocol. Due to the changes in the EU regulation, it was agreed that a revision was needed after the countries have gained more experience with the process of authorizing laboratories to perform official testing. The revision of this Standard was therefore postponed, and experts were asked to report on the use of PM 7/130 in their country at the next meeting of the Panel.
Revision of the EPPO instructions to authors of Diagnostic Protocols
The Panel revised the EPPO instructions to authors of Diagnostic Protocols based on feedback received from specialized Panels on Diagnostics and on suggestions from the EPPO Secretariat.
Next Workshop for the Heads of Laboratories
The Panel discussed the need to organize a Workshop for the Heads of Laboratories and decided that such a workshop could be organized around March 2023 back-to-back with the Panel on Diagnostics and Quality Assurance. The following topics were identified as of interest and will be proposed at the next meeting of the Working Party on Phytosanitary Regulations in June 2022:
- Sharing experience on Proficiency Testing organization
- Use of HTS as a diagnostic tool for plant health: implications for laboratories and for reporting.
Next Panel meeting
The next meeting of the Panel on Diagnostics and Quality Assurance will be held in March 2023 in Portugal.
The composition of the EPPO Panel on Diagnostics and Quality Assurance can be found on the EPPO website