Review of P.E.I. lab finds it lacks quality standards, needs funding

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CHARLOTTETOWN - A review of a P.E.I. lab that said it detected a deadly fish virus in British Columbia salmon has found the facility lacked proper quality standards and didn't thoroughly investigate conflicting test results.

The examination of the research laboratory at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island was done by an independent panel for the World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE.

The findings led to the lab being stripped of its prestigious reference status as one of only two facilities in the world recognized by OIE to test for infectious salmon anemia.

The review released Monday says the lab had no formal quality system in place and there was a risk of cross-contamination of samples.

The investigators also said they were surprised the lab received no funding from the school or the federal government, and recommended core funding be provided if it wanted to maintain a reference lab.

The lab is run by Fred Kibenge (Kah-BENG-gay), who is considered one of the world's leading authorities on infectious salmon anemia, but whose work came under scrutiny in 2011 after he said he found evidence of the virulent disease in wild B.C. sockeye salmon.

His finding challenged the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's position that the virus is not present in the province.

Organizations: Atlantic Veterinary College, World Organization for Animal Health, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Geographic location: CHARLOTTETOWN, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island

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