ASA is required under the Australian Government licence to appoint appropriately qualified providers of seed certification services as authorised certification agencies for the purpose of implementing operational aspects of the Rules and Directions of the OECD Seed Schemes. To meet this obligation ASA is collaborating with the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) to implement a national accreditation scheme for certification agencies.
What is NATA?
NATA is Australia’s Government-endorsed provider of accreditation for laboratories and testing facilities and a peak independent authority in Australia for the accreditation of inspection bodies.
What does NATA accreditation involve?
NATA accreditation of seed certification agencies requires compliance with the international quality management systems standard “ISO/IEC 17020:1998(E) General criteria for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection” plus demonstrated technical competence in meeting ASA technical standards. Certification agencies that achieve NATA accreditation and execute an accreditation agreement with ASA are authorised by ASA to act on its behalf in implementing operational aspects of the OECD Seed Schemes in Australia and to conduct the Australian Seed Certification Scheme.
The first round of NATA assessments of certification agencies implementing the OECD and Australian seed certification schemes were completed in 2006-07. A further round of assessments was carried out in 2007/08 to assess compliance with a number of issues identified in the first round. The assessment team involved a systems auditor from NATA and a technical auditor nominated by ASA. Special thanks are due to Brett Ross, Quality Assurance Officer with Cotton Seed Distributors Ltd. (CSD), who did an outstanding job as the technical auditor and to CSD for allowing Brett to participate.
NATA-Accredited seed certification agencies
- AGWEST Plant Laboratories, 3 Baron-Hay Court, SOUTH PERTH WA 6151.
- AsureQuality Australia Pty Ltd, 3-5 Lillee Crescent, TULLAMARINE VIC 3043.
- Seed Services Australia, Plant Research Centre, Hartley Grove, URRBRAE SA 5064.