Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 on Feed and Food Controls establishes the JRC as European Union Reference Laboratory for Food Contact Materials (EURL-FCM). The Regulation requires a supporting network of European National Reference Laboratories (NRLs). This Regulation supports the harmonised enforcement of food legislation including food contact materials and the creation of a reference laboratory network operated by the JRC to systematically exchange and assess information on emerging issues related to chemicals released from food contact materials.
download the Workprogramme of the EURL-FCM for 2013
download the list of NRLs for food contact materials (updated June 2012).
Art. 32 of Regulation EC/882/2004: community reference laboratories
1. The Community reference laboratories for feed and food referred to in Annex VII shall be responsible for:
(a) providing national reference laboratories with details of analytical methods, including reference methods;
(b) coordinating application by the national reference laboratories of the methods referred to in (a), in particular by organising comparative testing and by ensuring an appropriate follow-up of such comparative testing in accordance with internationally accepted protocols, when available;
(c) coordinating, within their area of competence, practical arrangements needed to apply new analytical methods and informing national reference laboratories of advances in this field;
(d) conducting initial and further training courses for the benefit of staff from national reference laboratories and of experts from developing countries;
(e) providing scientific and technical assistance to the Commission, especially in cases where Member States contest the results of analyses;
(f) collaborating with laboratories responsible for analysing feed and food in third countries.
3. Article 12(2) and (3) shall apply to community reference laboratories:
12.2. However, competent authorities may only designate laboratories that operate and are assessed and accredited in accordance with the following European standards:
(a) EN ISO/IEC 17025 on ‘General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories’;
(b) EN ISO/IEC 17011 on ‘General requirements for accreditation bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies’.
taking into account criteria for different testing methods laid down in Community feed and food law.
12.3. The accreditation and assessment of testing laboratories referred to in paragraph 2 may relate to individual tests or groups of tests.
4. Community reference laboratories shall fulfill the following requirements. They must:
(a) have suitably qualified staff with adequate training in diagnostic and analytical techniques applied in their area of competence; (b) possess the equipment and products needed to carry out the tasks assigned to them; (c) have an appropriate administrative infrastructure; (d) ensure that their staff respect the confidential nature of certain subjects, results or communications; (e) have sufficient knowledge of international standards and practices; (f) have available, if appropriate, an updated list of available reference substances and reagents and an updated list of manufacturers and suppliers of such substances and reagents; (g) take account of research activities at national and Community level; (h) have trained personnel available for emergency situations occurring within the Community.
5. Other Community reference laboratories relevant to the areas referred to in Article 1 may be included in Annex VII by the Commission. Those measures, designed to amend non-essential elements of this Regulation, shall be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny referred to in Article 62(4). In accordance with the same procedure, Annex VII may be updated.
6. Additional responsibilities and tasks for Community reference laboratories may be laid down by the Commission. Those measures, designed to amend non-essential elements of this Regulation by supplementing it, shall be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny referred to in Article 62(4).
7. Community reference laboratories may be granted a Community financial contribution in accordance with Article 28 of Council Decision 90/424/EEC of 26 June 1990 on expenditure in the veterinary field ( 1 ).
8. Community reference laboratories may be subject to Community controls to verify compliance with the requirements of this Regulation. If these controls find that a laboratory is not complying with those requirements or tasks for which they have been designated, necessary measures may be taken in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 62(3).
9. Paragraphs 1 to 7 shall apply without prejudice to more specific rules, and in particular Chapter VI of Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 and Article 14 of Council Directive 96/23/EC.
Art. 32 of Regulation EC/882/2004: community reference laboratories
Art. 33 of Regulation EC/882/2004: national reference laboratories
1. Member States shall arrange for the designation of one or more national reference laboratories for each Community reference laboratory referred to in Article 32. A Member State may designate a laboratory situated in another Member State or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Member and a single laboratory may be the national reference laboratory for more than one Member State.
2. These national reference laboratories shall:
- collaborate with the Community reference laboratory in their area of competence;
- coordinate, for their area of competence, the activities of official laboratories responsible for the analysis of samples in accordance with Article 11;
- where appropriate, organise comparative tests between the official national laboratories and ensure an appropriate follow-up of such comparative testing;
- ensure the dissemination to the competent authority and official national laboratories of information that the Community reference laboratory supplies;
- provide scientific and technical assistance to the competent authority for the implementation of coordinated control plans adopted in accordance with Article 53;
- be responsible for carrying out other specific duties provided for in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 62(3), without prejudice to existing additional national duties.
4. Member States shall communicate the name and address of each national reference laboratory to the Commission, the relevant Community reference laboratory and other Member States.
5. Member States that have more than one national reference laboratory for a Community reference laboratory must ensure that these laboratories work closely together, so as to ensure efficient coordination between them, with other national laboratories and with the Community reference laboratory.
6. Additional responsibilities and tasks for national reference laboratories may be laid down in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 62(3).