An external tool of controlling the quality of laboratory tests is participation in proficiency testing (PT) which makes it possible to evaluate the laboratory’s competence in the scope of conducted routine tests.
Proficiency testing is one of the methods of comparing laboratory test results with results obtained by other laboratories by means of the referential and/or alternative testing method. It offers a possibility to detect any potential errors in the applied testing methods and thus to implement corrective measures.
Homogeneous testing material is used in proficiency testing. It is sent to the laboratories participating in a particular stage of testing. Upon reception of a sample, the laboratories participating in the testing procedure test one or several characteristics respectively. A deadline is set for each test by which the laboratories are obliged to provide the test results. These results are subject to statistical data processing. On this basis, each laboratory receives a report with the “z-score” for the particular testing technique. This value is a significant component in the quality control process in a laboratory.
In 2018 ASA participated in proficiency testing concerning the microbiological analysis of cosmetic products and obtained positive results in the following qualitative tests:
- Detecting the presence of Escherichia coli
- Detecting the presence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- Detecting the presence of Candida albicans
- Detecting the presence of Staphylococcus ureus
as well as quantitative tests:
- determining the total amount of microorganisms
- determining the total amount of yeasts and moulds. The scope of the quantitative tests
Participation in proficiency testing is considered to be the basic and yet the most effective tool confirming the technical competences with reference to the requirements of the PN-EN ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standard.
Pursuant to item 5.9 of the PN-EN ISO/IEC 17025:2005 standard, accredited or pursuing accreditation laboratories are obliged to implement quality control procedures ensuring constant monitoring of the reliability of test results provided to customers. Participation in proficiency testing is one of such significant monitoring tools.
Every manufacturer’s obligation is to prove and confirm that its cosmetics are user-safe. This means that manufacturers need to have relevant information concerning the quality of input materials and the final product. They also need to prove that production is based on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and that the necessary microbiological control criteria have been applied.
Every manufacturer needs to guarantee that its product is compliant with the microbiological requirements, and this can only be done by monitoring the products’ microbiological purity on a current basis.
It has been obligatory to perform microbiological tests of cosmetic products since 11.07.2013. Microbiological tests of cosmetics can be performed in accordance with the Regulation of the Minister of Health of 23 December 2002, Journal of Laws, No. 9, item 107, or in accordance with the PN EN ISO standards, and they comprise quantitative and qualitative analyses.
As a manufacturer of cosmetic products, ASA complies with sanitary requirements and relevant hygiene regimes which together with other quality requirements make up the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
The tests and calibrations performed by our laboratory are compliant with the implemented quality systems, and the obtained results are appropriate, reliable and precise.
Our laboratory's participation in proficiency testing and the obtained results (certificate) confirm the competences of our team with respect to the conducted analyses.
The advantages ensuing from ASA’s participation in proficiency testing:
- increasing the laboratory's prestige
- improving the laboratory’s performance
- increasing the laboratory staff's professional qualifications
- confirming the competences of the managerial and technical personnel
- using high-class testing devices
- getting very precise and reliable test results
- having an opportunity to improve the system by means of audits, as well as corrective and preventive measures.