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Food Safety

Reference Laboratories and Centres


The Commission is empowered to establish EU Reference Laboratories (EURLs) in those sectors where there is a recognised need to promote uniform practices and reliability of methods of analysis, tests and diagnosis. Use has already been made of this empowerment (see table).

The decision to establish an EURL is taken by a delegated act involving the European Parliament and the Council and the actual designation will be implemented by the Commission.

This considerably increases the openness and transparency of the selection process.

The designation will be limited in time (minimum five years) or reviewed regularly by the Commission. Detailed rules are clearly set out about EURLs tasks in the text of the Regulation.

New EU Reference Centres for animal welfare have been established to provide coordinated assistance to Member States in the field of animal welfare (see table).

The tasks include:

  • carry out scientific and technical studies;

  • conduct training courses and disseminate research findings and technical innovations;

  • to provide scientific and technical advice for the development and application of animal welfare indicators.

Moreover, the Regulation provides for the possibility to establish EU Reference Centres for the authenticity and integrity of the agri-food chain, to provide the specialised knowledge in relation to methods for detecting fraudulent or deceptive practices and specific analyses designed to identify areas of the agri-food chain potentially vulnerable to fraud.

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