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NFSTC@FIU helps Moroccan forensic lab earn international accreditation

With the help of the National Forensic Science Technology Center at Florida International University (NFSTC@FIU), Morocco has earned its first international forensic laboratory accreditation.

Moroccan officials accept accreditation during a ceremony in October.

The center trained personnel from the laboratory that is home to the only DNA databasing unit in Morocco. That lab controls the uploading of genetic profiles that could lead to the identification of suspects in criminal investigations.

“This accreditation demonstrates the quality of the laboratory’s systems and work,” said David Sylvester, the center’s deputy executive director. “On an international level, it means that the laboratory’s clients can be assured of the validity and excellence of the laboratory testing results and conclusions.”

Forensic scientists from the Management and High Throughput Genotyping Unit of the Directorate General for National Security Police Scientific Laboratory in Casablanca trained with the center through a 12-month U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs grant.

In only eight months, the NFSTC@FIU team translated and reviewed material from French to English, coordinated training with personnel, reviewed quality assurance documents, and addressed issues that would affect the accreditation.

“There are more than 100 requirements that need to be met just to apply for accreditation,” Sylvester said. “It was a lot of work to undertake in a relative short amount of time, which speaks to the work ethic of the laboratory personnel.”

The Moroccan forensic scientists met the quality assurance requirements of the International Organization of Standardization’s 17025-2005 accreditation. After training and work on quality systems, the laboratory was evaluated by the American National Standards Institute-American Society for Quality National Accreditation Board and received accreditation.

The scientific lab for Morocco’s national police – the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) – handles DNA forensic testing work within the Kingdom of Morocco.  Utilizing the expertise and guidance of the National Science Forensic Technology Center (NFSTC), the police lab was recently granted ISO 17025 accreditation to perform DNA forensic testing. ISO 17025 is the standard for which most labs must hold accreditation to be deemed technically competent, and is the most important standard for calibration and testing laboratories worldwide.  This is the Moroccan police lab’s first international accreditation. Laboratories that are ISO accredited have demonstrated that they are able to produce precise and accurate tests and/or calibration data.

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