Introduction of Metrological Controls for Grain Protein Measuring

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					                   Introduction of Metrological Controls for
                     Grain Protein Measuring Instruments

1     Background

Trade measurement in Australia is controlled by complementary Commonwealth and State
legislation. The current trade measurement legislation of the States and Territories requires
that measuring instruments in use for trade must be verified (or certified) and marked with an
inspector’s mark or certifier’s mark. Failure to comply is an offence with substantial
penalties. However, because this is a new area of trade measurement, the Trade Measurement
Advisory Committee agreed to establish a project on quality measurements with the National
Measurement Institute (NMI) as the lead agency to investigate grain protein measurements in
the first instance.

2     Description of Innovation

2.1   The Grain Quality Committee (GQC)
Following complaints and evidence of transaction costs in the sale of grain at receival centres
NMI established its Grain Quality Committee (GQC). The committee has broad
representation from growers, bulk handling authorities, the Wheat Board, BRI Australia, the
Flour Millers Council and trade measurement authorities.
The committee considered complaints about grain protein and moisture measurements and
agreed to begin work on the introduction of metrological controls for protein measuring
instruments for wheat and barley.
2.2   Development of a National Standard
The first step was the development over a period of two years of a national standard for grain
protein measuring instruments by the GQC. The first edition of the standard was published in
May 2003. The International Organisation on Legal Metrology (OIML) has recently begun
work on an international recommendation for grain protein measuring instruments. Under
s.19A(6A) of the National Measurement Act 1960, Australia will be obliged to harmonise
with this recommendation once it is completed. It is therefore important that all Australian
stakeholders have input into the international recommendation. NMI will post the various
draft documents on its website and disseminate them through the GQC as they come to hand.
2.3   Development of Traceability
A very important aspect of a measurement system is traceability of measurements to the
national standards and ultimately to the SI units of measurement. In Australia, all of the bulk
handling authorities use near infrared (NIR) master instruments in their laboratories and
relate the performance of their field instruments back to these master instruments. The GQC
has developed a procedure based on a collaborative survey to produce whole-grain certified
reference materials (CRMs) of various protein concentrations that can be used to calibrate
laboratory master instruments. The master instruments will then be certified under the
National Measurement Regulations as certified measuring instruments (CMIs). Secondary
level CRMs will also be produced from the master instruments that can be used to verify in-
field instruments.




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2.4   Verification of Protein Measuring Instruments
Networked Instruments
Two methods of certification for networked instruments have been proposed by the GQC and
endorsed by trade measurement authorities. In the case of large networks of instruments such
as those managed by bulk handling authorities, at least two grain samples that have been
measured in the field are returned to the central laboratory on a daily basis to be checked in a
master instrument. Both field and master instrument results will be stored in a database that
can be audited from time to time by the relevant trade measurement authority. The bulk
handling authorities may be appointed as licensees to certify their in-field instruments and
trade measurement authorities will audit the above database from time to time and may carry
out some random checking of in-field instruments using secondary CRMs.
The second method that has been endorsed by trade measurement authorities is for the bulk
handling certifiers to produce and distribute to the field grain receival sites, sets of secondary
CRMs that can be used on a daily basis to check in-field instruments. Once again the results
will be returned to the central laboratory for entry into a database and central laboratory staff
would be notified of any unacceptable discrepancies between the expected and actual
measurement results. The period for which the secondary CRMs can remain in use has yet to
be agreed but would be several weeks depending on the results of research into their in-field
stability.
Non-networked Instruments
Licensed certifiers appointed by trade measurement authorities will use the secondary CRMs
purchased from bulk handling authorities or other sources to certify in-field instruments in
other sectors where grain is traded on the basis of protein measurements. Typically
instrument service organisation would be able to apply for licenses and the trade
measurement authorities may also license larger organisations as certifiers to maintain their
own instruments. In the latter case it would be expected that these organisations would come
under a similar level of scrutiny as bulk handling authorities.

3     Timetable for Introduction

Currently a twelve months trial period is in operation that comes to completion on 1 July
2004. The purpose of this trial period was to allow organisations, mainly bulk handling
authorities and manufacturers, time to put the necessary infrastructure in place so that they
would be able to comply with trade measurement requirements. From 1 July 2004, trade
measurement authorities will begin monitoring protein measuring instruments used for trade.
It is not expected that this will come into effect overnight, but more likely will be introduced
at a rate determined by the trade measurement authorities in each jurisdiction.

4     Requirements for Installation of New Instruments

From 1 July 2004, any new protein measuring instruments installed for trade use must be
certified and marked under the trade measurement legislation of the relevant jurisdiction.
Measuring instruments cannot be certified unless they are of a pattern approved by the Chief
Metrologist. The penalties associated with selling for trade, lending, installing or using a non-
certified instrument for trade are quite severe. Traders contemplating the purchase of a new
instrument should make sure that it is approved.




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5    Grandfathering of Existing Instruments

To ensure that the transition to metrological control will not disrupt the grain market, existing
models of protein measuring instruments currently used for trade will be issued with a
certificate of approval. The certificate will allow for the certification of existing instruments
but no new instruments can be installed for use under these approvals. If it is desired to install
new instruments of a grandfathered model then the manufacturer will need to seek pattern
approval with full testing from NMI.

6    Implications for Bulk Handling Authorities

The Chief Metrologist will appoint bulk handling authorities that participate in the
collaborative survey as certifiers of reference materials and certifiers of measuring
instruments. Such appointments will be based on the NATA accreditation of their
laboratories for chemical testing and as certifiers of reference materials.

7    Implication for Other Owners and Users of Protein Measuring Instruments

All prospective licensees should make contact with the appropriate trade measurement
authorities to investigate the acquisition of a license to certify protein measuring instruments.




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