13th Meeting of the Panel on Diagnostics and Quality Assurance
Oeiras (PT) 2023-04-17/18
The EPPO Panel on Diagnostics and Quality Assurance met in Oeiras (PT) at the kind invitation of INIAV. Twenty two Panel members participated in the meeting.
Revision horizontal EPPO Diagnostic Standards
The Panel discussed the need for revision of several Diagnostic Standards.
PM 7/76 Use of EPPO Diagnostic protocols
Following one comment received during country consultation on the definition of diagnostic sensitivity and diagnostic specificity, the Panel agreed that ideally field samples should be used when evaluating those performance criteria, but it was noted that it is not always possible (e.g. for pests absent in the region). The Panel considered that no revision of the current definition is needed. A revision of PM 7/76 will however start in 2023 to better take into account High Throughput Sequencing (HTS) specificities.
PM 7/122 Specific requirements for laboratories preparing accreditation for a plant pest diagnostic activity
A revision of ISO 17043 on which PM 7/122 is based will soon be published. The impact of this revision on PM 7/122 will be discussed at the next Panel meeting. It was noted that guidance on the organisation of small inter laboratory comparisons would be helpful and the addition of such guidance in PM 7/122 will also be discussed further in 2024.
PM 7/130 Guidelines on the authorization of laboratories to perform diagnostic activities for regulated pests
Following the publication of a new version of the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) Regional Standard for Phytosanitary Measures 9, the Panel discussed the need of revision of PM 7/130. It was considered that more details could be added e.g. on the evaluation to be performed prior to an authorization, the frequency of internal audits. The EPPO Secretariat will prepare a document on the need to revise PM 7/130 for the Working Party on Phytosanitary Regulation in June 2023.
PM 7/131 Guidelines on the main tasks of Reference Laboratories for official plant pest diagnostics
The Panel considered that no revision was needed. The EPPO Secretariat will explore the need for a corrigendum about the reference to the European Union Reference Laboratories in the introduction.
PM 7/147 Guidelines for the production of biological reference material
Following the request of some laboratories for more guidance on the use of descriptors for different type of reference materials, the EPPO Secretariat organized a meeting with Mr Sitaras (Director of ESYD, Laboratories Accreditation Division, Convener of the technical network for Food and Feed of the EA Laboratory Committee and EPPO contact person in EA). He highlighted that from assessor’s point of view PM 7/147 seems to allow flexibility regarding descriptors. It was concluded from the meeting that laboratories should discuss with assessors to explain why a descriptor is considered not relevant for a specific intended use. The Panel agreed to share this conclusion more widely e.g. with accreditation bodies and laboratories in the EPPO Database on diagnostic expertise. In addition, the Panel agreed to prepare a survey on the use of this Standard in 2024.
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. The need to better define detection and identification was discussed and discussions will continue in specific Panels in order to prepare agreed definitions.
Terms of Reference of the Panel
The Panel went over the Terms of Reference of the Panel and decided that it should be revised at the next Panel meeting.
Next Panel meeting
The next meeting of the Panel on Diagnostics and Quality Assurance will be held in February 2024 in Angers (France).
The composition of the EPPO Panel on Diagnostics and Quality Assurance can be found on the EPPO website.