MAF Quarantine Border Service gains ISO 17020 Quality Standard

10 November 2000

The Director-General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry would like to applaud a further three sections of the MAF Quarantine Service for being formally accredited to the ISO 17020 Quality Standard today (10 November). Achieving ISO accreditation is thought to be a world first for a Quarantine Service.

Christchurch based MAF Quarantine staff and their operation sites at Lyttleton Port, Christchurch Airport and Sir William Pickering Drive will receive their accreditation today. All quarantine operations at Timaru and Dunedin will received their certificates soon after.

Accreditation certificates have already been presented to the MAF Quarantine staff at the International Mail Centre and the Quarantine Detector Dog Programme operations earlier this month.

Fourteen other MAF Quarantine sites have formally been recommended for ISO 17020 accreditation and will be presented with their certificates over the coming months.

The demanding ISO 17020 Quality Standard differs from a 'normal' quality standard, such as the ISO 9000 series, in that it focuses on individual staff competencies as well as the integrity of organisational systems.

The international ISO 17020 standard is especially relevant to MQS given its involvement in critical inspection activity.

MAF sees its Quarantine Service accreditation as part of an on-going opportunity to further enhance the quality of what it does at an individual as well as an organisational level.

"Gaining accreditation to ISO 17020 is the start of the journey not the end. We will continually work as a team to achieve outcomes that provide proof of our reputation as a world leader in our field," says Bruce Ross, the Director-General of MAF.

"It is important to note that expanding and maintaining ISO 17020 accreditation will be an ongoing process. It will involve system audits, accreditation of further individual signatories and re-accreditation of existing signatories,' he said.

MAF undertakes regular internal audits of its procedures, which specifically focus on compliance and quality improvements. The audits make recommendations for improvements, which are acted upon.

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