The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Quality Assurance Laboratory (USDA) has been certified under the 'International Laboratory Certification Scheme' run by ICA Bremen, which provides cotton testing, research and quality training.

USDA joins eight other laboratories to become certified under the scheme, which aims to establish an approved list of laboratories worldwide that meet a standard level of quality assurance.

"We are pleased to see that the Quality Assurance Laboratory of USDA has joined the certified club of laboratories," said ICA Bremen auditor, Robert Jiang. "USDA has provided continuous input and support to the certification programme right from the very beginning. We are confident that through the effort of all sides, the certification programme will continue to maintain its standard for the benefit of the whole cotton industry."

Based on ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) and CSITC (Commercial Standardization of Instrument Testing of Cotton), the scheme is open to any international cotton testing laboratory.

Participating laboratories must meet a level of quality assurance based on specific criteria in eight modules, including conditioning, maintenance, calibration and testing procedures. 

Twelve other laboratories are currently in the process of assessment. Once certified, they will become a 'laboratory of choice' to resolve quality disputes in line with the ICA Bylaws & Rules, as well as providing a service to the cotton industry.