The Top 10 List of What to Ask Your (Contract) Lab
- Do you have an independent quality assurance department? Is your lab accredited with any organization? If so, which one(s)? Do you follow any published standard of good laboratory practices?
- What information can I provide that will be helpful in the analysis of my product?
- Will any of the sample testing be outsourced to another lab?
- Please describe how you handle samples from the time of receipt, through lab analysis, report issuance, and data archiving.
- Do you have written procedures and schedules for instrument and equipment maintenance and calibration? If so, how can you substantiate this?
- Do written valid test methods exist for the sample analysis? Do
you disclose to the customer upon request the test procedures
and methods your lab uses? How do you assure that the test result(s)
is both accurate and precise?
- How much experience does your lab, and the analyst working on the sample, have in dealing with this analyte and matrix?
- Do you record raw data in bound books (laboratory notebooks) or in other laboratory information systems? Is there a way to track a final report to the original raw data? What is the time period for retaining raw data and will you provide such data upon request?
- Based on your experience with this test/matrix and the current lab workload, do you anticipate on-time delivery of the results?
- If I receive unexpected results, what policies and procedures
do you follow to assure that those results are valid?
(Reprinted with permission from the American Herbal Products Association,
from the Insider trade journal, October 2003. For the complete
article, visit http://www.ahpa.org.