We had worked with an SQF consultant about 2 years ago and were told that because our in-house QA lab was not ISO 17025 certified, we would have to send product shelf life trials (when deemed necessary for SQF 2.3.1 - Product Development and Realization) to an outside accredited lab. Is this the case, or is it more of a recommendation than a requirement?
I was looking at the SQF Code and could not find anything in 2.3.1 that specifically states shelf life testing must be done by an ISO 17025 accredited lab. I found reference to ISO 17025 in section 2.5.4:
126.96.36.199 The methods, responsibility and criteria for sampling, inspecting and/or analyzing raw materials, finished
product and work in progress shall be documented and implemented. The methods applied shall ensure:
i. Inspections and analyses are completed at regular intervals as required and to agreed specification and
ii. Inspections are conducted to ensure raw materials, work in process and finished products comply with the
relevant specification, regulatory requirements and are true to label; and
iii. All analyses are conducted to nationally recognized methods or alternative methods which are validated as
equivalent to the nationally recognized methods.
188.8.131.52 On-site personnel that conduct environmental or product testing shall participate in an applicable
proficiency testing program at least annually to ensure accuracy of results.
184.108.40.206 Where external laboratories are utilized to conduct input or product analysis, the laboratories shall be
accredited to ISO 17025 or an equivalent national standard, and shall be included on the site's contract service
specifications register (refer to 220.127.116.11).
18.104.22.168 Records of all inspections and analyses shall be maintained.
Our QA lab uses BAM/AOAC approved methods for our in-house micro testing and participates in annual proficiency testing through NSI Labs (they are accredited to ISO 17043 and 17025).
Any input would be appreciated.