ISO 17025 Information

Interpretation of the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 Standard

Mutual Recognition

The standard used to accredit laboratories is ISO 17025 - General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. This standard provides the framework of activities, procedures, and records systems to achieve quality in laboratory test results.

A mutual recognition arrangement (MRA) process is the process that laboratory accreditation bodies utilize to develop confidence in each others ability to determine laboratory competence. In addition, the accreditation bodies promote the acceptance of test or calibration data generated from the laboratories accredited by the MRA signatories. This fosters reduced technical barriers for trade. Therefore, as ISO 17025 continues to be utilized internationally, it becomes very essential in the development of MRAs between worldwide economies.

The accrediting body's compliance is verified with ISO/IEC Guide 58 - Calibration and testing laboratory accreditation systems - General requirement for operation and recognition. Appointed representatives from cooperating laboratory accreditation systems perform assessments of an applicant laboratory accreditation system on behalf of all the systems in cooperation. When the requirements are deemed to have been met, then all members in the cooperative arrangement recognize accreditations issued by the applicant. The assessment involves an on-site visit to the applicant's operations as well as an evaluation of the applicant's assessors during their laboratory assessments for ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation.