The ISO/IEC 17025:2017 impartiality requirement is to ensure that conflicts of interest do not affect the laboratory activities unfavorably or negatively. The extent to which risks to impartiality need to be addressed will depend on your Food testing laboratory’s purpose. For example, if your laboratory provides testing for an internal manufacturing division as well as third party customers, addressing impartiality could be more complex than the scenario where your laboratory is an independent commercial facility.
The following are ways to demonstrate compliance:
1. Commitment to impartiality. Address this through organisational structure, policies and awareness discussions with personnel. Include commitment to impartiality within your quality policy and engage in discussions during meetings, including management review. The policy document and minutes of meetings are suitable ev idence.
2. Management of risks to impartiality. On an ongoing basis, identify possible threats to impartiality from laboratory relationships, or from personnel relationships. Assess organisational ownership, governance and structure; marketing; contracts and finances and shared resources between departments. Eliminate or minimize identified risks through appropriate treatment; for example, by separating conflicting activities through changing a process or changing personnel reporting lines and authorizations. Review customer and employment contracts to address specific treatment of financial, commercial, or other pressures that may compromise impartiality.
Records of risk assessment and treatment are suitable evidence.
For further insight into the purpose of the impartiality clause, refer to ISO/IEC Clause 8.5 “Actions to address risks and opportunities”.