USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is trying to make it easier for animal diagnostic laboratories to carry out vital livestock disease testing on behalf of the agency.
A proposed rule is now available for public comment through July 29. USDA wants to update its regulations that outline how the agency approves laboratories to conduct official testing for animal diseases, as well as how they can remain approved.
The specifics for approval processes are currently listed in disease-specific sections throughout the animal health regulations and they vary by disease, a statement from APHIS said. APHIS is proposing to create a single, user-friendly process for laboratory approval and consolidate the existing regulations into one location.
“Approved laboratories play a vital role in our animal health efforts, by providing us with proven, accurate results in a specific timeframe. We rely on these laboratories every day to provide clear information about the health status of the nation’s many herds and flocks,” APHIS said.
The proposed changes will not only make it easier for laboratories to understand what they need to do to become approved, but also what they need to do to remain approved to conduct a wide variety of official tests.
The consolidated regulations would provide consistent inspection protocols, proficiency testing methods, quality system guidelines and definitions. This would also facilitate the approval of additional laboratories in emergency situations. The consolidated regulations would serve to simplify regulatory oversight and compliance.
Existing approved laboratories would begin using the new process when it is time for their next renewal. USDA said they would implement the new process for newly requested approvals immediately.
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