What you should know about Global Standardization Bodies?

What you should know about Global Standardization Bodies?
Standards – Vital Links Between Nations

Global Standardization Bodies have contributed immensely to promotion of trade. Such bodies specify and develop guidelines that ensure acceptance of commodities produced in one part of the world elsewhere. First let us examine why there was a need to establish such standardization bodies.

Objectives of Global Standardization Bodies

  • To promote trade between nations through universally acceptable specifications and standards of commercial products and services.
  • To establish standards on industrial safety, standards for edible products such as foods, oils, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural produce as well as safety norms for building materials and construction operations.
  • To set up safety standards of natural resources such as air and water that are vital for existence of life on the planet.

Global Standardization Bodies

A brief introduction on chronological evolution of some key international and national standardization bodies is presented in this article.

International Bodies:

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

ISO is the parent standardization body which has laid down standard guidelines which have universal acceptance.

  • Largest developer and publisher of International Standards
  • Set up in 1947 as network of National Standards Institutes of over 162 countries with Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland
  • ISO standards cover a wide range of activities and services requiring global acceptance

American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM)

  • Founded in 1898 with Head Quarters in Pennsylvania, USA
  • Formerly known as American Society for Testing Materials and the new name was acquired in 2001 with acceptance in over 135 countries
  • Serves diverse industries from metals to construction petroleum to consumer products, etc.
  • Over 30,000 technical experts across the world contribute to development of ASTM standards
  • Over 12,000 standards in compliance with World Trade Organization Guidelines serve to promote global trade

Environmental Standardization Bodies

Environmental protection Agency (EPA)

  • Enforcement of environmental standards under the spectrum of environmental laws
  • Conducts environmental assessment, research and evaluation
  • Standards cover legislation concerning air, water, land, endangered spices and hazardous wastes

Association of Public Health Analysts (APHA)

  • APHA is oldest organization of public health professionals since 1872
  • First edition of standard methods for examination of water and waste water published in 1905 covering physical, chemical, microscopic and bacteriological examination of water
  • Latest (21st edition) covers advanced instrumental techniques for analysis of water samples


  • Provides international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice on safety, quality and fairness of international food trade
  • AOAC has official observer status in Codex Alimentarius and has contributed significantly to International standards for foods

AOAC International

  • Founded in 1884 as Association of Official Agricultural Chemist by United States Department of Agriculture
  • Membership was restricted to government analytical chemists until 1987 but extended to Industrial Chemist subsequently
  • Renamed as Association of Official Analytical Chemists in 1965 to reflect its scope beyond agriculture and to AOAC International in 1991
  • Head Quarters in Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA
  • Publishes Standardized chemical methods of analysis accepted by government laboratories
  • Publishes test method for evaluating safety of foods, beverages , dietary supplements and other products meant for human and animal consumption

Pharmaceutical Standardization bodies

British Pharmacopeia

  • Authoritative standard since 1864 for pharmaceutical substances and medicinal products

European Pharmacopeia

  • Monographs started in 1964 and applicable through out member states of European union
  • Accepted in number of other countries
  • Ensures quality of medicinal products imported into or exported from Europe

US Pharmacopeia

  • Promotes health of people around the world
  • First published in 1820
  • From 1882 to 1942 published at 10 year interval
  • 5 year intervals from 1942 to 2000 and annually from 2002

National Bodies:

British Standards Institution ( BSI)

  • World’s first Standard Body
  • Came into existence in 1901 as the Engineering Standards Committee
  • Standards formulated for quality of goods and services
  • Over 31 000 active standards
  • Due to harmonization of standards of Europe some British standards are superseded by relevant European standards

Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)

  • National Standards body under the aegis of Ministry Of Consumer Affairs, Food And Public
  • Distribution, under the Bureau Of Indian Standards Act 1986
  • Formerly known as Indian Standards Institutions (ISI)
  • Head Quarters in New Delhi with Regional offices in Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Chandigarh and
  • Delhi and several branch offices spread through out the country
  • Founder member of ISO
  • Formulation and promotion of Indian Standards for Industry in upgrading the quality of products and services in chemical, foods, electrical, building and construction and mechanical disciplines
  • Activities supported by a chain of laboratories
  • Foreign manufacturers required to obtain BIS product certification license for export to India

Deutshes Institut Fur Normung (DIN)

  • German Institute for Standardization founded in 1917 in Berlin, Germany
  • Over 30000 active standards
  • Standards cover almost all technological products

In this brief article it was possible to introduce only some major standardization bodies. Today almost every country has its standards bodies and there are also global entities responsible for diverse range of products and services.

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