AFAQ AFNOR Certification, which has pioneered commercial method assessment in Europe, has gained solid experience through more than 60 approvals granted under the AFNOR VALIDATION mark. By focusing on its European mark AFNOR VALIDATION, which includes more than 40 methods audited to new European regulations (the 20 other methods are under renewal to conform to these regulations), AFAQ AFNOR Certification consolidates its position as European leader, and departs from the private MicroVal system.
Since January 2006, the implementation of Commission regulation (EC) 2073/2005 on microbiological criteria for foodstuffs has brought a definite European dimension to the AFNOR VALIDATION mark, which complies with the three fundamental requirements specified in regulation/article 5 regarding recognition of alternative methods :
- 1. The AFNOR VALIDATION mark is granted by a third-party certification body: AFAQ AFNOR Certification,
- 2. The AFNOR VALIDATION scheme uses the approval protocol specified in standard EN ISO 16140,
- 3. The AFNOR VALIDATION scheme uses the methods stipulated in regulation/appendix 1 as its reference methods
Since 1989, AFAQ AFNOR CERTIFICATION has relied on a technical panel comprising more than 20 experts who assess all draft studies and results of approval research. The assessors are all members of the technical board and are consequently trained in EN ISO 16140 modifications and interpretation. Moreover, most of the expert laboratories selected by AFAQ AFNOR Certification are also members of the technical board. Thus there is a 'continuous professional development' of expert laboratories and assessors, based on more than 20 approvals assessed every year. The entire approval scheme is monitored by an approval commission including all stakeholders concerned (suppliers, users, public and private lobbies).
AFAQ AFNOR Certification therefore has a unique experience in the assessment of practices according to the criteria in regulation (EC) 2073/2005, both from the technical point of view via implementation of EN ISO 16140 protocol, but also on the legal aspects of the certification scheme. AFAQ AFNOR Certification had anticipated the publication of regulation (EC) 2073/2005 since 2003 by incorporating technical requirements stated in standard EN ISO 16140.
Having brought a technical contribution to the development of MicroVal in the 90's, AFAQ AFNOR Certification wishes now to concentrate its resources on developing the AFNOR VALIDATION mark which is a collective European mark, officially registered as such in the European Union in 2005. The AFNOR VALIDATION mark has stood the test of time and is trusted by both suppliers and users of alternative methods alike.
The AFNOR VALIDATION mark also complies with all requirements of regulation (EC) 2073/2005 in view of the European recognition of approval certificates.
In march 2007, AFAQ AFNOR certification is going to create a web site especially designated to the AFNOR VALIDATION Mark http://www.afnor-validation.org "certifie the performance of rapid analysis kit". This site , bilingual english/french offers information on the AFNOR VALIDATION Mark as well as a constant update e.g. new certified kits etc.. The validation methods can be found by type of method and by reference method use as well as their producers. It also offers a download of the validation of certification for each of these kits.