EU Reference Laboratories provide scientific and technical support and advice on improved laboratory techniques, to the national reference laboratories (NRLs) in the Member States (i.e. developing analytical laboratory methods, organising know-how tests and training of laboratory staff).
EURLs' specialised activity ranges from pesticides and GMOs to animal health issues and food products testing and they also work with laboratories in Non-EU countries.
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) hosts six EURLs; four in food safety control (heavy metals, mycotoxins, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and food contact materials) and two in the area of control as well as the pre-marketing authorisation of certain products (feed additives and genetically modified organisms).
The EURL for Salmonella is RIVM, The Netherlands, for milk and milk products and Listeria monocytogenes it is ANSES, France, for Campylobacter it is SVA, Sweden and for E. coli including verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC) it is ISS, Italy.
Priorities include development of certified reference material and standardised and validated methods for measurement and identification of hazards (chemicals, contaminants, pesticides, pathogens), for presence of unauthorised GMOs in food and feed, and detection of unauthorised substances or the unauthorised use of authorised substances and the development of sound analytical capability to detect fraudulent practices (testing for DNA, pesticides, additives).