As an advanced chemistry lab at Lox Agency, our primary duties are to measure and evaluate the quality of imported materials, foods, fuels, detergents, drugs, cosmetics, fruits and vegetables, industrial equipment, and technological and smart tools according to specific local and international standard procedures. The most important facet of quality control is a set of written directives describing the relevant laboratory-specific, technique-specific, sample-specific, method-specific, and protocol-specific operations. As we have considered all of them seriously to provide better health and environmental conditions to our society.
To describe operational specific to a technique, we are following Good measurement practices (GMPs) strategy which provides instructions for maintaining, calibrating, and using equipment and instrumentation. As a very simple example, a GMPs for a titration describes how to calibrate the burette (if required), how to fill the burette with titrant, the correct way to read the volume of titrant in the burette, and the correct way to dispense the titrant.
On the same line, Standard operations procedure (SOP) is desperately used in the directions for analyzing a specific analyte in a specific matrix. This is guiding us to process the samples in the laboratory, separate the analyte from potential interferences, standardize the method, measure the analytical signal, transform the data into the desired result, and use the quality assessment tools to maintain quality control. On a scientific basis, we have established an SOP data bank regarding the standard procedures approved by the Iraqi quality control system, ISO, ASTM, FDA, Codex, and European Committee for Standardization. Although an SOP provides a written procedure, it is not necessary to follow the procedure exactly as long as we are careful to identify any modifications. On the other hand, we must follow all instructions in a protocol for a specific purpose, the most detailed of the written quality control directives—before agencies or clients will accept our results.
Relevant qualifications for this career include a Ph.D., MSc, and bachelor’s degrees in chemistry, experience in a chemistry lab setting, and skills like attention to detail and the ability to multitask. On a protocol basis, a new chemist or analyst is not allowed to perform a new analytical method or use a new and advanced instrument, until he or she has not been given training by professional trainers. He or she may be required to successfully analyze an independent check sample with acceptable accuracy and precision. After that, certification of an analyst’s competence to perform the analysis for which he or she is responsible is being given to them which gives him a green light to work in the lab.
As a quality control company, we understand that professionals in high accuracy and precision data required advanced instruments in addition to the professional staff and controlled environment. Sophisticated instruments were carefully provided to our labs including HPLC, ICP, FT-IR, NIR (food analyzer), XRF, ELISA, and other required machines. This laboratory designation with the collaboration of advanced instruments allows quality control chemists to ensure accurate results in item tests and detect issues in poor quality products quickly. In addition, a very sophisticated database program is available in our labs which collects analyzed data from chemistry, biology, and physics labs and puts on a standard report sheet in which the results are compared to the standard ranges automatically. A full report will be printed out and hand it to the administrative staff who are in charge to deal with the outcomes of the report.