Proficiency Testing is the use of inter-laboratory test comparisons to determine the performance of individual laboratories for specific tests.
Why is it important for sensory labs?
Proficiency Testing is used to monitor the consistency and comparability of a laboratory's test data with other similar laboratories. This is an important prerequisite for studies in which more than one lab is involved.
What does ESN do concerning Proficiency Testing?
The ESN provides regular Proficiency Testing schemes for sensory ranking and descriptive profiling. These projects are financed by a participation fee. Costs are dependent on the type of proficiency test, and the number of participants (usually between 2000-3000 Euro). There are clear benefits:
- Participation helps to demonstrate the reliability of sensory panel results, which is beneficial towards accreditation (e.g. through UKAS & ISO).
- Participants are shown their performance for each of the performance criteria to help pinpoint where improvement or further training is needed.
- Participation can foster confidence in the results of a sensory panel, for management and clients.
- Proficiency Testing helps to encourage improvement.
For more information, or to register for future proficiency tests without commitment, please contact: proficiency.esn@
Wher can interested labs learn more about Proficiency Testing?
- International guidelines for proficiency testing in sensory analysis. CCFRA Guidelines No. 35, 2001. Edited by DH Lyon.
- McEwan, J.A. (2001). Proficiency Testing for Sensory Profile Tests: Statistical Guidelines. Part 2. R&D Report No. 127. CCFRA.
- McEwan, J.A. (2000). Proficiency Testing for Sensory Profile Tests: Statistical Guidelines. Part 1. R&D Report No. 119. CCFRA.
- McEwan, J.A. (2001). Proficiency Testing for Sensory Ranking Tests: Statistical Guidelines. Part 2. R&D Report No. 126. CCFRA.
- McEwan, J.A. (2000). Proficiency Testing for Sensory Ranking Tests: Statistical Guidelines. Part 1. R&D Report No. 118. CCFRA.
- ILAC-G13:2000 Guidelines for the Requirements for the Competence of Providers of Proficiency Testing Schemes.
- ISO/IEC Guide 43-1 (1997) Proficiency testing by interlaboratory comparisons – Part 1: Development and operation of proficiency testing schemes.
- ISO/IEC Guide 43-2 (1997) Proficiency testing by interlaboratory comparisons – Part 2: Selection and use of proficiency testing schemes by laboratory accreditation bodies.
- ASTM E1301-95 Standard Guide for Proficiency Testing by Interlaboratory Comparisons
- Thompson, M. and Wood, R (1993) ‘The International Harmonised Protocol for the Proficiency Testing of (Chemical) Analytical Laboratories’. Pure Appl. Chem, 1993, 65, 2123-2144 (Also published in J. AOAC International, 1993, 76, 926-940
- EN45001 (1989) ‘ General requirements for the operation of testing laboratories’
- ISO 17025 (1999) ‘General requirements for the competence of calibration and testing laboratories’
- EA4/09 ‘Accreditation for sensory testing laboratories - published by European Co-operation for Accreditation of Laboratories
- ‘Food Analysis Performance Assessment Scheme (FAPAS), published by Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, UK 1991
- ISO 5492 (1992): Sensory Analysis – Vocabulary
- ISO 3534 (1993): Statistics - Vocabulary and Symbols. Part 1: Probability and General Statistical Terms.
- ISO 5725-1 (1994): Accuracy trueness and precision of measurement methods and results. Part 1: General principles and definitions.
- ISO Guide 30 (1993): Terms and definitions used in connection with reference materials. In: “International vocabulary for basic and general terms in metrology”, 2nd Edition, ISO, Geneva.