The Grain Quality and Nutrition Services Laboratory (GQNSL) was awarded on 18 September 2015 with a PNS ISO/IEC 17025 reaccreditation, said to be effective from 2015 to 2020 and subject to ongoing compliance with laboratory testing standards by the Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB).
PAB director Ernani Dionisio handed the certificate of reaccreditation to GQNC head Dr. Nese Sreenivasulu and GQNSL Lab and Quality Manager Lily Molina.
"This is an important step forward because at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), we have been breeding different varieties to enhance yield as part of the Green Revolution for decades, and from the last 10 years or so, there's more focus now on grain quality," said Dr. Sreenivasulu. He explained that, with the newly received accreditation, GQNSL will be able to expand its scope of tests to include more grain quality-related issues besides focusing on soil, water, and micronutrient aspects.
Dr. Sreenivasulu also stressed that they hoped to gain insight into consumer demand in terms of cooking or eating quality, besides equally paying attention to what farmers, traders, or millers would need in terms of milling or the morphological characteristics of any rice grain.
"It's better for us to capture all of those attributes thoroughly, then facilitate tools with the breeders, who, in turn, will use them to develop premium quality rice varieties that match the regional preferences of South and Southeast Asian countries,” he intimated. “So this is where we are heading in terms of restructuring our activities. I'm pretty happy to see this develop even more or extend where IRRI is kind of now moving forward with this advancement—in offering services—as well as in doing research in the area of grain quality."
Just in May of this year, GQNSL underwent two days of rigorous audit from PAB and successfully received a recommendation for its ISO 17025 reaccreditation. GQNSL would again have to submit to 3 surveillance visits over a period of 5 years and two months before the conferred accreditation expires in 2020, to reapply for renewal of its accreditation from PAB.
"Our laboratory's journey toward ISO accreditation is still not over," noted Ms. Molina. "We aim to raise GQNSL's level of excellence by maintaining its lab accreditation and expanding the scope of its services despite having to face so many challenges, such as reduced funding and downsizing of staff, among others," she said.
"We also encourage other IRRI laboratories to become ISO 17025-accredited. Admittedly, it takes passion and dedication to reach the hallmark of being an ISO 17025-accredited chemical testing lab—but, it can be done," Ms. Molina concluded.