NHA LABORATORY
Quality and Memberships

The strict enforcement of methodologies, method acceptance criteria and the correct interpretation, processing and reporting of results are important.  This assures a consistent standard in drug screening and analysis as prescribed.  This is overseen by the Quality Assurance Section.  Existing methodologies are challenged by proficiency testing and new technologies are constantly investigated and evaluated for incorporation into the existing drug screening program.  This commitment to quality and compliance is shown by ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation and AORC requirement compliance.

 

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Quality Systems, Procedures and Controls

The Laboratory has, since 1994, complied with SABS 0259 which is the equivalent of ISO 025 - General requirements for the competence of calibration and testing laboratories.  Recently the Laboratory upgraded its quality compliance to ISO/IEC 17025 through the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS).  In order to comply with ISO/IEC 17025 SANAS audits the Laboratory on a regular basis.

 

Within the ISO/IEC 17025 Standard the Laboratory, as a member of the Association of Official Racing Chemists (AORC), also complies with the International Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation requirement: ILAC-G7 "Accreditation Requirements and Operating Criteria for Horseracing Laboratories".

Memberships and Collaborations

The Laboratory holds membership of the international body of racing chemists, the Association of Official Racing Chemists (AORC).  The Laboratory is directed by and follows the guidelines of this organisation with regards to drug screening, drug confirmation, quality and method acceptance and validation criteria.  Within the organisation there is involvement in collaboration projects and active contributions at meetings and conferences.  The Laboratory also has membership of the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT) and regularly participates at scientific meetings and conferences (such as the International Conference of Racing Analysts and Veterinarians).  The members of the Laboratory Directorate hold membership of the South African Chemical Institute (SACI) and its subdivisions for Chromatography (ChromSA) and Mass Spectrometry (SAAMS).  There is collaboration with the University of Pretoria (Veterinary Faculty) on research projects which fall outside the scope of the Laboratory operations.

Proficiency Tests

It is important for the Laboratory to remain very self-critical and proficiency testing plays an important role.  The Association of Official Racing Chemists (AORC) annually organises international proficiency testing for laboratories of member organisations.  This Laboratory has participated in these proficiency tests since 1987.  Most recently the Laboratory achieved a 100% drug detection and identification score in the 2007 AORC external proficiency scheme.  Internal proficiency testing is undertaken on a weekly basis by the Quality Assurance Section of the Laboratory and number about 250 assessments annually.

Activities related to Expertise

The Laboratory Director has (on request of the relevant editorial boards) reviewed papers for two international scientific journals: the Journal of Chromatography (Biomedical Applications) and the Journal for Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry.  He acts as an external moderator for several graduate and post-graduate courses, examinations and programs at the University of Pretoria.  The Laboratory Director is currently the Chairman of the South African Association for Mass Spectrometry (SAAMS), a Council Member of the South African Chemical Institute (SACI) and a registered Professional Natural Scientist at the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions.