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What is ISTA Accreditation?
Definition - Accreditation means the procedure by which an authoritative body gives formal recognition that a body or person is competent to carry out specific tasks (ISO/IEC Guide 2:1996).
The aim of ISTA Accreditation is to verify if a seed testing laboratory is technically competent to carry out seed testing procedures in accordance with the 'ISTA International Rules for Seed Testing'. Accredited laboratories must show that they run a quality assurance system fulfilling the requirements of the ISTA Accreditation Standard. The laboratories accredited by ISTA are authorised to issue ISTA Seed Lot and Sample Certificates.
By reporting seed test results on ISTA Seed Lot Certificates, the issuing laboratory assures that the sampling and testing has been carried out in accordance with the ISTA Rules. Methods of the ISTA Rules have been validated, internationally harmonised and voted on by the ISTA Membership.

Accreditation passport
"Passport to Higher Quality Seed" 
The ISTA Accreditation Programme 
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Watch the new ISTA video: "The benefits of ISTA's ACCREDITATION PROGRAMME"
Video accreditation

What are the benefits of ISTA Accreditation…

… for the seed seller?
Seed producers who want to have their seed tested have to be sure that the results produced are reliable and reflect the true quality of the seed to be sold. These results are influenced by many factors, such as competence of analysts, use of appropriate equipment, use of validated methods, accurate recording and reporting, etc.
Accreditation is a process through which a laboratory's technical competence is verified through assessment by an experienced audit team against established audit criteria. Factors that influence the test results are subjected to assessment to verify if these criteria are met. Criteria are formulated in the ISTA Accreditation Standard which is based on the internationally agreed generic accreditation standard for testing and calibration laboratories ISO/IEC 17025 Standard.
Especially when seed lots are shipped overseas, the risk to ship seeds with faulty results on the test report shall be minimised. Using an accredited laboratory for testing of seed helps to increase acceptance of seed lots and thus reduces costs. In some countries/distinct economies import of seed is only permitted if the seed lot is accompanied by an ISTA Certificate.
Accredited laboratories are reassessed in regular intervals to examine if they continuously abide by the ISTA accreditation requirements. According to the testing capabilities, accredited laboratories are obliged to participate in relevant proficiency test rounds. Failure in the proficiency test programme may lead to suspension of the accreditation.
Seed producers themselves may accredit their laboratory to ensure that in-house seed testing is done correctly.
If you want to find out if a seed testing laboratory is accredited by ISTA, visit the directory of accredited labs on this web site. Details on their services accredited and addresses are provided as well.
… for the seed buyer?
Seed buyers are interested in buying seed of high quality. This is to be proofed through testing the seed lots' quality in a seed testing laboratory. Test reports, e.g. ISTA Certificates issued by accredited laboratories provide the seed buyer with confidence that the results on the test report correspond to the quality of the seed lot. To realise the quality of the purchased seed is lower than expected is costly and sometimes even too late to do something about it.
… for the laboratory?
ISTA Accreditation gives a laboratory formal recognition that it is technically competent to test seed using the ISTA methods and producing reliable results. Through the independent technical evaluation of a laboratory's performance, the laboratory receives assurance that its work is performed correctly and appropriately. During the on-site assessment, various aspects of the laboratory's work is looked at, improvement potential and non-conformities are identified.
As accreditation is becoming more and more accepted by authorities, customers and stakeholder to be an efficient tool to evaluate a laboratory's testing performance, accreditation is in fact an important marketing tool. The laboratory's address and scope of accreditation will be published on the ISTA web site for access to customers.
Accredited laboratories are authorised to issue ISTA Certificates needed by seed producers to ship seed into various countries/distinct economies. 

Click here for explanations on how to become accredited.
Last updated: 04.01.2017, BO


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