The FDA has issued a final rule on laboratory accreditation for food analysis

The final rule on Laboratory Accreditation for Analyses of Foods (LAAF) established by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) creates a laboratory accreditation scheme for food testing which will be implemented in the next years.    

The FDA will recognize accreditation bodies (ABs) that will accredit labs in accordance with the final rule's requirements under the LAAF program. The FDA will keep track of recognized certified organizations and LAAF-accredited labs in an online public register. When enough LAAF-accredited laboratory capacity is available for the food testing covered by the final rule, the agency will issue a document stating that they must utilize only LAAF-accredited laboratory for certain food testing. Only LAAF-accredited labs will be allowed to undertake food testing in specified conditions described in the final regulation once the LAAF program is fully implemented.    

The regulation's LAAF accreditation criteria include ISO 17025 accreditation and ILAC-MRA signatory status, as well as a number of other requirements unique to the rule. The regulation also specifies that the analysis, sampling, and test results for food testing done under the rule must fulfill specific standards. LAAF accreditation is available to both in-house and third-party labs.    

When it comes to implementing the LAAF program, the FDA will adopt a step-by-step approach. In early 2022, the FDA plans to announce that accreditation bodies may apply for FDA recognition under the LAAF regulation. Following, the FDA will announce that labs may apply to the approved accrediting bodies for LAAF-accreditation after it has recognized a sufficient number of entities. When there is enough LAAF-accredited laboratory capacity for the food testing covered by the final rule, the agency will issue a document in the Federal Register informing owners and consignees that they will be obliged to employ a LAAF-accredited laboratory for such food testing.