NATA’s Life Science Sector 

Industry News July 11, 2022
NATA’s Life Science Sector 
NATA team

Our Life Sciences Sector provides accreditation services in the areas of: 

  1. Agribusiness 
  2. Animal Health 
  3. Environment 
  4. Food and Beverage 
  5. Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Media 
  6. OECD Principles of Good Laboratory Practice 

The Life Sciences Sector covers a diverse range of testing competencies protecting both human and animal health and the environment.  

NATA is also the Australian Compliance Monitoring Authority for the OECD Principles of GLP, a global recognition program which contributes to test data acceptance internationally. 


Agribusiness includes testing at the primary production level, such as chemical and microbiological testing of meat for export and chemical testing of cereals and grains. 

This testing supports Australia’s market access by allowing Australian producers to demonstrate they meet trading partners specifications. NATA and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) operate a Deed of Agreement covering microbiological testing of meat for export to the United States of America and Europe. 

Animal Health 

Animal Health includes testing undertaken on domestic (small animal) and commercial livestock to detect and prevent disease. 

Protecting Australia’s disease-free status is vital to market access and NATA accredits Commonwealth, State and Territory and commercial laboratories for a range of tests for both endemic diseases and exotic diseases.   

NATA works with DAFF to ensure accreditation provides testing capacity and works to identify how gaps can be closed.   


Activities in the environmental space can be split into two distinct areas. 

  1. Testing for substances hazardous to health in the environment such as asbestos and respirable crystalline silica. 

    Reduction of workplace exposure to hazardous substances is vital in protecting the health of workers and NATA’s Life Sciences staff work closely with Standards Australia and regulators to ensure accreditation criteria are up to date and fit for purpose. 
  2. Testing for contaminants from agricultural and industrial processes, such as pesticides and perfluroroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, 

Protecting the environment and monitoring the impact of contamination is essential.  Generations to come will rely on the work undertaken now to protect against future pollution and mitigate and remediate pollution that has already occurred. 

The environmental testing space is one of the largest areas of accreditation for Life Sciences and sees growth continue at a steady pace. 

Food and Beverage 

Access to safe food and clean water is a fundamental human right which is taken for granted in Australia.  Australia has a highly regulated and technically complex system to ensure food and water are safe to consume and NATA’s accredited facilities play a significant role in achieving this.   

Accredited testing of food covers chemical and microbiological contamination, label claims and nutritional panel information and testing for allergenic proteins which is a significant health concern for allergic consumers. 

Life Sciences staff work closely with Standards Australia, DAFF and state and territory Departments of Health to ensure accreditation criteria are up to date and fit for purpose.   

NATA operates Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with DAFF covering the testing of imported foods for surveillance testing and the state and territory Departments of Health.  These MOUs facilitate the timely exchange of information to assist with protecting public health. 

Healthcare, Pharmaceutical and Media 

Access to safe and effective medicines is regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.  NATA offers accreditation for both chemical and microbiological tests on raw materials and finished products.  Testing is undertaken to the requirements of national and international standards as detailed in the British, European and United States Pharmacopeias.   

Life Sciences also offers accreditation for the commercial manufacture of microbiological media.  Purchasing media from an accredited supplier allows testing laboratories to rely on the expertise of a specialist service and reduces the need for labour intensive and time-consuming in house manufacture and testing.  Access to reliable media is vital to the validity of testing undertaken. 

OECD Principles of Good Laboratory Practice 

The OECD Principles of GLP are applicable to test facilities performing (non-clinical) studies that will be submitted to authorities for the purposes of assessing the health and environmental safety of chemicals and chemical products. 

They also define the responsibilities of test facility management, study director, study personnel and quality assurance personnel operating within a GLP system. In addition, standards concerning the suitability of organisations and equipment to perform studies, the need for standard operating procedures, documentation of raw data, study reports and the archiving of records. 

GLP recognition is available for the agribusiness (pesticides; herbicides; veterinary chemicals), pharmaceutical, food, medical devices, cosmetic and industrial chemicals sectors. 

For additional information on NATA’s Life Sciences Sector, please contact Neil Shepherd