Charles River conducts soil & crop residue studies for agrochemicals.
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Remote Audit Take One, and Action!

Around the globe, COVID-19 travel restrictions and social distance recommendations have made it challenging to maintain business as usual. Charles River’s agrochemical development teams know what’s at stake. With the world’s food supply chain dependent on your products, timely completion of GLP-compliant field trials, soil and crop residue studies is not an option. But how does one adhere to regulations amid the in-person limitations of a COVID world?

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Managing a multitude of study types, support services, and inspections in our field bases throughout Europe, our team had to think outside of the box to ensure compliance with the GLP-mandated Quality Assurance (QA) process inspections at our sites. In a typical year, our QA group targets two visits to each base per year to perform quality review, but early in 2020, it became clear this wouldn’t be possible.

As a result, the team conducted a trial in April 2020 to determine whether the footage from a standard GoPro action camera could provide enough detail to give a QA auditor the confidence to accept a remote inspection as at least equivalent to a more traditional physical inspection.

The video footage, when combined with still images and scans of supporting documentation, confirmed that the GoPro cameras were able to capture a clear and detailed record of the field activities, and could therefore provide QA with the information needed to complete a full GLP inspection. Following a detailed risk assessment of the process, the trial was considered robust, viable alternative.

In the time since, we’ve equipped every one of our field bases with a GoPro. This allows the local scientists to record the specific field activities as selected by QA personnel and send the package of electronic files to the team for inspection. The material obtained during the pilot showed clear and detailed images of the complete field processes. Critical activities, such as test item labelling and the recording of data, were clear and easily identified. The pilot trial also helped to iron out some glitches. The few occasions where the footage was not clear (e.g., due to solar glare, camera positioning, or improper focus) prompted the creation of detailed guidance documents designed to mitigate the risk of such circumstances in subsequent inspections. In addition to the documentation, we’ve trained our field scientists on how to use the cameras, including the key points to consider when filming for QA purposes.

crop field.

Field Trials for Agrochemicals Datasheet

Charles River has a proven track record of providing exceptional, comprehensive support for the development of new agrochemicals. Covering a wide range of studies, we have been offering our international field trials services for over 20 years.
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As the pandemic continues to unfold, we’ve not yet determined when or whether there will be a return to full in-person inspections. The success of the GoPro audit supports the possibility of retaining the option of combined physical and video inspections in the future. As the seasons progress, you can have confidence that GLP-compliant field trials and other critical studies conducted in support of your product registrations can continue without delay.

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