History of ANQAP

The Australian National Quality Assurance Program was originally instigated by the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management (SCARM) Animal Health Committee in 1990.  The program is coordinated by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR), Victoria.

The initial aim of the program was to standardise veterinary testing in government laboratories in Australia and New Zealand. This aim is still applicable today but the program has expanded and established itself both nationally and internationally as an external proficiency testing provider. ANQAP focuses on assays used in quarantine, export certification and national disease control programs.

The ANQAP uses inter-laboratory comparison for determining the performance of individual laboratories for specific tests. The program staff prepare a range of proficiency panels for veterinary virology, veterinary serology and veterinary bacteriology samples.  ANQAP does not prescribe the test method to be followed with the participating laboratories able to select their method of choice.  Australian and New Zealand laboratories generally follow the Australian and New Zealand Standard Diagnostic Procedure where available.

Participation in proficiency testing is an important component of laboratory quality assurance and provides an objective means of assessing and demonstrating the reliability of results produced.  Proficiency testing supplements the laboratory internal quality control procedures by adding an external evaluation of their testing capabilities.

ANQAP recommends participating laboratories have quality systems in place, and export / import laboratories in Australia and New Zealand are required by Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) to be accredited with NATA to the standard ISO/IEC 17025.

In 2010, ANQAP expanded to include six tests for aquatic diseases. The program ran from 2010-2014 in conjunction with the DAWR. A similar program with seven aquatic animal diseases ran from 2013-2015, funded again by DAWR, for Australian laboratories only. This program once again ran from 2017-2019 with eight aquatic animal disease tests .

Since 2012, ANQAP has worked with the Subcommittee on Plant Health Diagnostic Standards (SPHDS) to include a range of plant health tests. Enrolment forms for the National Plant Health Proficiency Testing Program (NPHPTP) can be obtained by contacting ANQAP.

Please feel free to contact ANQAP for more information about our programs or enrolments at any time throughout the year.