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Center for Plant Health Science and Technology

National Plant Pathogen Laboratory Accreditation Program

 

Location: Raleigh, NC
Phone: (919) 855-7416
Fax: (919) 855-7480
Contact: Pat Shiel

The National Plant Protection Laboratory Accreditation Program (NPPLAP) evaluates laboratories that use molecular diagnostics for APHIS-Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) to ensure their capability to make accurate diagnostic determinations for regulatory purposes. In addition to ensuring lab capability within PPQ and other agencies in the USDA, NPPLAP engages the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN) and state agricultural department laboratories in this process to increase diagnostic capacity and proficiency in a dispersed laboratory network. The goal of this program is to ensure diagnostic capacity for USDA regulatory programs and to establish a state of readiness when needed by PPQ in emergency situations. NPPLAP also fosters the adoption of practices that promote continuous improvement and accreditation standards suitable for use by plant diagnostic labs and serves to develop functional Quality Management systems for plant diagnostic labs. NPPLAP currently accredits laboratories to diagnose Phytophthora ramorum and the Huanglongbing (citrus greening) pathogen, and certifies laboratory diagnosticians to test for Phytophthora ramorum, citrus greening, and plum pox virus.

Process

The current process begins with exchange of documents between NPPLAP and the participating lab. The NPPLAP provides documents that describe the components of the program, including the inspection checklist and the Work Instructions for making valid diagnostic determinations for regulatory purposes.  The participating laboratory provides documents on the expertise of the analysts and the infrastructure of the lab. This is followed by a site visit by a CPHST-coordinated team of scientists to inspect and evaluate the lab facilities.  The inspection checklists are used to examine the lab’s equipment, personnel, chain of custody, facility infrastructure, and equipment maintenance. 

After successful completion of the inspection phase, a blind Proficiency Test Panel is sent by the Proficiency Testing Section to participating analysts within approved labs.  This test not only evaluates and verifies the proficiency of the analyst’s technical skills in the lab, but it also measures the overall capabilities of the lab and its personnel to interpret and accurately report proficiency test data.  The Proficiency Panel is designed to mimic actual samples received by the national lab for final determinations.  Each analyst must process the samples and analyze the results in accordance with PPQ protocols, and provide a timely determination for evaluation by NPPLAP.  The panel results are returned to the program and evaluated for accuracy and rigor in the processing and reporting of determinations.  The Proficiency Panel is passed for each diagnostic on a yearly basis and is designed to include the introduction of new diagnostic protocols and advances in the understanding of the biology of the pathogen.

NPPLAP Documents

Please contact Dr. Pat Shiel at if you have questions or plan to participate in NPPLAP either by establishing an accredited laboratory in this system or becoming a certified analyst.The current process begins with exchange of documents between NPPLAP and the participating laboratory. NPPLAP provides documents that describe the components of the program, including the inspection checklist and the Work Instructions for making valid diagnostic determinations for regulatory purposes. The participating laboratory provides documents on the expertise of the analysts and the infrastructure of the lab. This is followed by a site visit by a CPHST-coordinated team of scientists to inspect and evaluate the laboratory facilities. The inspection checklists are used to examine the lab’s equipment, personnel, chain of custody, facility infrastructure, and equipment maintenance.

After successful completion of the inspection phase, a blind Proficiency Test Panel is sent by the Proficiency Testing Section (Beltsville, MD) to participating analysts within approved labs. This test not only evaluates and verifies the proficiency of the analyst’s technical skills in the lab, but it also measures the overall capabilities of the lab and its personnel to interpret and accurately report proficiency test data. The Proficiency Panel is designed to mimic actual samples received by the national lab for final determinations. Each analyst must process the samples and analyze the results in accordance with PPQ protocols, and provide a timely determination for evaluation by NPPLAP. The panel results are returned to the program and evaluated for accuracy and rigor in the processing and reporting of determinations. The Proficiency Panel is passed for each diagnostic on a yearly basis and is designed to include the introduction of new diagnostic protocols and advances in the understanding of the biology of the pathogen.

NPPLAP Documents
Please contact Dr. Pat Shiel, NPPLAP Coordinator, if you have any questions or plan to participate in NPPLAP either by establishing an accredited laboratory in this system (Phytophthora ramorum or citrus greening) or becoming a certified analyst (Phytophthora ramorum,citrus greening, or plum pox virus). Information is also available on request regarding accredited laboratories and Potentially Actionable Suspect Sample (PASS) policies.



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