Whistleblower Files Complaint

  1. News Detail

Whistleblower Files Complaint Alleging Scope Violations by Indian Certifier QRO

A whistleblower has filed formal complaints against the certification body Quality Research Organization (QRO), alleging it is issuing ISO 9001 certificates outside of its scope of accreditation. Copies of the complaints were sent to Oxebridge, with permission to report on the matter; Oxebridge did not file the complaint itself, but is monitoring its progress.

QRO operates out of Delhi India and is accredited by the Egyptian accreditation body, EGAC. EGAC is a member of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).

In one case, QRO issued an ISO 9001 certificate to Bavarian Machining Works of Gujarat India. The complainant alleges the scope of that accreditation, which included aerospace parts, was outside of QRO’s accreditation abilities.

Oxebridge was able to verify that, per the EGAC website, QRO is not accredited under the aerospace industry code.

Furthermore, Bavarian Machining Works claims to also operate in Italy, Liberia, and Algeria, and none of those locations are listed on the ISO 9001 certificate issued by QRO. Bavarian’s website appears to claim its SO 9001 covers those countries regardless.

In another example, QRO issued an ISO 9001 certificate to Shriji Herbal, a manufacturer and exporter of Ayurvedic herbal products. It is not clear what scope violation the complainant is alleging related to Shriji, except that QRO also issued an ISO 22000 food certification to the company. In India, such products are considered medical products and not food, but it is not clear if this distinction carries over to ISO certificates.

All the certificates included in the complaint include the logos for EGAC and the IAF.

The whistleblower filed the complaints directly with the IAF and EGAC. It is not clear if the complaint was already filed with QRO itself, which would be a required first step.

The IAF has failed to enforce the rules related to accreditation scope, resulting in a flood of certificates worldwide that are issued by bodies without the requisite industry experience or qualifications to do so.

Likewise, the IAF has declined to ensure CBs only issue certificates in countries within their scope of accreditation. Now, a one-person CB can open an office in one country and immediately claim accreditation in every other country in the world. Previously, ISO mandatory documents (MDs) limited accreditation only in countries where the CB had undergone accreditation audits, but the rules fell apart as documents referenced in the IAF MDs became obsolete. IAF has refused to update those rules, essentially leaving the situation “lawless.”

EGAC has been a repeat offender in such matters, and is considered one of the more lax accreditation bodies in the Middle East and Asia. It is likely this is why some bodies, such as QRO, pursue accreditation under EGAC instead of India’s own national body, NABCB.