A grower who presents registered seed-lots for certification must be sure that –
- the test results in respect of a specific sample tested at any of the laboratories approved by the Independent Certification Council for Seed Potatoes will be comparable; and
- the test results will reflect the disease content of the specific sample with due consideration of the limitations of the ELISA test and variation in sampling methods.
In order to maintain the balance between the test results of the regional laboratories and the credibility of the testing process, it is the responsibility of Plantovita as controlling laboratory to ensure that –
- the best internationally available ELISA test kits are used;
- the test protocols are continually updated and that the procedures are carried out properly; and
- all the laboratories function in accordance to international standards.
To achieve this it is furthermore, the responsibility of Plantovita to –
- make recommendations with regard to the replacement of worn out laboratory equipment and/or the purchasing of new equipment;
- submit proposals with regard to an expansion or improvement of a facility if work procedures and turnover justify such expansion or improvement;
- ensure that the personnel of Potato Laboratory Service are properly and continuously trained to be able to perform tests independently;
- equip the personnel of Potato Laboratory Service with the essential knowledge to be able to manage the laboratories and personnel attached thereto in accordance with legal requirements;
- audit the respective regional laboratories, to make recommendations and to follow up corrective actions in order to control quality and to standardise procedures;
- implement inter-laboratory tests nationally in order to monitor the comparability of regional laboratories with a view to quality control and standardisation; and
- provide technical assistance and support if testing problems are experienced in a laboratory until the problem has been solved successfully.
The ultimate object of the afore-mentioned actions is to ensure that all the official testing laboratories of the potato industry enjoy and maintain the approval of the Independent Certification Council for Seed Potatoes and Departmental registration.