What is Product Certification?

What is Product Certification?

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 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 the consumer is 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 the customer formal documentation that the product they have purchased has been tested by qualified personnel to the 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.

How to become an Accredited Product Certification Body?

A product certification body must be able to demonstrate its competence to assess and certify the products presented to it.

In the case of products, the certification body must comply with IS EN 45011 (originally published as ISO/IEC Guide 65; both standards are still current and are identical), and its associated guideline published by IAF (International Accreditation Forum), IAF GD 5. GD 5 clarifies requirements for the certification body, and enables accreditation bodies to harmonise their application of the standard. It is available from the IAF website at http://www.iaf.nu .

IS EN 45011 has a number of requirements for organisational structure, quality management system elements, competence of personnel, confidentiality, etc. The product certification body must be able to demonstrate compliance with all of these requirements.

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 can demonstrate that the operation is stable (typically three months minimum), it can apply to INAB for accreditation.

Further Information

Further information is available at www.inab.ie . For specific queries, contact INAB using the contact details above.