Accreditation of Product Certification
INAB offers certification bodies accreditation to the international standard ISO 17065:2012, “Conformity assessment - Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services”.
In the area of product certification, INAB accredits certification bodies who certify the quality of a product. The word “product” is used in its widest sense, and as the title of the standard suggests, it includes processes and services. The certification of such a product is a means of providing assurance that the product in question conforms to standards and/or other normative documents.
Certification bodies providing product certification issue product certificates or licences to organisations which entitles them to display a mark of conformity on their product or to issue a certificate indicating the product's conformity with specified requirements. In this way consumers are assured that the product they are purchasing has reached a set standard. One of the big growth areas for product certification has been in the food area. Food quality assurance schemes such as those owned by Bord Bia and Bord Iascaigh Mhara are now implemented by accredited certification bodies.
Product certification can offer customers formal documentation that the product they have purchased has been tested by qualified personnel to applicable codes and/or standards. Those seeking certification for their products must demonstrate that they have adequate quality control systems in place to maintain conformity of their products with the standards.
ISO 17065 has a number of requirements for organisational structure, quality management system elements, competence of personnel, confidentiality, etc. The certification body must also describe the certification requirements – how the product evaluation is performed – and must define periods of recertification and surveillance. In addition, the product certification body must have a mechanism for safeguarding impartiality and must provide rules for, and monitoring of, its certification mark.
Once the product certification body has all of the organisational and technical measures in place, and has been operating a certification service for a period of time sufficient to have historical records built up, and is able to demonstrate that the operation is stable (typically three months minimum), it can apply to INAB for accreditation.
Accredited certification bodies may also be appointed as notified bodies. Notified bodies are conformity assessment bodies which are officially designated by their national authority (Member State) to carry out the procedures for conformity assessment within the meaning of applicable Union harmonisation legislation when a third party is required. They are called ‘notified bodies’ under the applicable EU legislation.
Notified bodies take responsibilities in areas of public interest and, therefore, must remain accountable to the competent national authorities. To be eligible a body must be a legal entity established on the territory of a Member State and, thus, come under its jurisdiction.
Further information on notified bodies may be found on the European Commission website.
INAB Accreditation Symbol
The Irish National Accreditation Board strongly mandates accredited organisations to use the accreditation symbol on their reports or certificates.
The accreditation symbol, ownership of which is vested in INAB, is a combination of the Board’s logo in association with the registration number and the accreditation standard. Reference is also made to the organisation’s scope of accreditation.
The use of the symbol is subject to strict criteria laid down in the INAB R1 Regulations.