Standard Operating Procedures and Work Instructions – An Introduction

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) find application in different types of processes in medicine, chemistry, social sciences, industry and many more. They are detailed, written instructions to achieve uniformity of the performance of a specific process; the instructions usually cover more than one task or area within the agency, unit or sector (definition adopted from European Medicines Agency – EMA – Standard Operating Procedure). Work Instructions (WINs) are used for the practical implementation of SOPs. They are detailed descriptions of how to perform and record tasks; they may be, for example, detailed written descriptions, flow charts, checklists, pictures, or combinations thereof (definition adapted from ISO/TR 10013:2001 – Guidelines for quality management system documentation). The reasons why it is so important to achieve uniformity in processes of the mentioned fields are to achieve and ensure high product quality, simplify processes for their implementation, guide the participants in their work and act according to existing standards like the FairWild Standard.

In the context of sustainable sourcing of natural ingredients we developed SOPs for sustainable wild collection, domestication and cultivation of plants. The SOPs and WINs for sustainable wild collection are based on the principles of the FairWild Standard and the Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP) of the World Health Organization (WHO). The SOP and WINs for domestication are also based on GACP; they are the missing link between wild collection and cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs). For the SOP and WINs wih regard to cultivation of MAPs the KDC expert group draws on a rich history of guidance from German sources and from United Nations (WHO or FAO).

9th March 2015

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