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The National Plant Diagnostic Network strives to enhance agricultural security through the protection of the health and productivity of plants, in the agricultural and natural ecosystems, in the United States.

NPDN established a Core standard to provide an overarching framework for all NPDN member laboratories to commit to excellence in plant diagnostics by achieving core accreditation. core-logo Accreditation ensures NPDN laboratories will meet quality standards, enhance professionalism, strengthening our state of readiness in performing timely accurate detections while reducing the risk of exotic pathogens and pest establishments.

Frequently asked questions

How does accreditation benefit my lab

  • Ensures accurate and consistent diagnostics
  • Promotes continuous improvement of diagnostic services
  • Provides confidence in laboratory diagnostic results
  • Supports policies to stay up to date with new technology
  • Improves time-management skills, productivity, and cost efficiency
  • Provides a defensible framework to support laboratory findings
  • Improves new employee transitions
  • Improves customer satisfaction
  • Promotes public awareness

What is the purpose of accreditation?

Accreditation will provide a means of ensuring network laboratories meet a set standard and demonstrates that a laboratory has a functional Quality Management System for diagnostic procedures performed by the laboratory staff. Involvement in an accreditation system provides benefits not only to individual laboratories but to the entire plant diagnostic network.

Why should I become accredited?

Accreditation provides confidence that your laboratory has a well-established quality management system.

Does this program work for any lab size?

Yes! Core was developed to accommodate whether you have a 1-person or a 12-person laboratory.

Does my laboratory have to go through accreditation?

Eventually, all laboratories within the NPDN will be required to become accredited through the NPDN Core program. Initially, we are piloting this project with a few NPDN laboratories to ensure that the standard requirements are suitable for NPDN laboratories.

How will this affect the way my laboratory operates?

Most experienced laboratory personnel probably already incorporate many quality management principles into their current laboratory processes which satisfy certain requirements of accreditation. Requirements for accreditation will include attention to detail, use of standardized protocols and good record keeping. Joining the accreditation program will allow you to organize what you are  already doing according to a system-wide accreditation standard. When preparing for accreditation a good motto to follow is “Say what you do; do what you say”.

Will I be required to use the templates you are creating if I already have a form I currently use?

No. The templates are available for your use directly or to serve as a guide for your current documentation. You can use your current documentation as long as it is suitable for incorporation into the Quality Management System. The most important requirement is that each document used has or can be given a unique tracking number so it can be referenced when needed within your Quality Management System and updates can be clearly identified.

Why should my laboratory become accredited when the accreditation process looks like it will take a lot of extra time?

The accreditation program will provide many resources to help your laboratory develop a Quality Management System. However, some extra effort by each laboratory is needed to participate in accreditation. Developing a Quality Management System, including accreditation, shouldn’t be looked at as additional work but simply viewed as a part of the standard operation of an efficient and credible laboratory. Think of it as a way of organizing and documenting what you already do. The time you spend preparing your laboratory for accreditation will help you identify aspects of your laboratory that may need some additional attention and will help improve the diagnostic services you are already providing.


Read the NPDN Core accreditation Standard

How to get started with Accreditation

NPDN members can login to access accreditation training and templates in Learnupon

Fall 2023 Accreditation Drop-in Help Sessions

Contact the accreditation committee: