Tasks of Reference Laboratories

  • Further development and validation of detection methods for chemical, molecular-biological and microbiological agents
  • Senior expert office for unclear or disputed cases
  • Initial and continuing training of experts from the control authorities of the federal states
  • Provision of reference material and expert information on conducting comparative studies to the extent that no commercial reference materials of the same quality are available
  • Co-ordination of the activities of the control laboratories of the federal states
  • Carrying out interlaboratory tests and comparative laboratory tests with the official control laboratories within the framework of quality assurance in order to guarantee a uniform standard of analytical quality
  • In addition to providing valid detection methods, the National Reference Laboratories involved in microbiological aspects make an important contribution to the fine differentiation and characterisation of the properties of the pathogens submitted and, by extension, to the epidemiology of foodborne risks.

Function of National Reference Laboratories

Within BfR there are 14 National Reference Laboratories from the areas food safety and food hygiene. They were appointed by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) on the basis of European legal provisions and notified to the European Commission.

The establishment of National Reference Laboratories ensures that uniform standards are applied in the respective areas throughout Europe. National Reference Laboratories contribute to the comparability of test results by ensuring validated analytical methods, providing reference material and carrying out comparative tests. They work closely with the Community Reference Laboratories (CRLs) of the European Union responsible for their respective area.

The Reference Laboratories attached to BfR use both food chemical/analytical as well as molecular-biological and microbiological methods. Their work is founded on various statutory provisions like food law, feed law as well as laws and ordinances on consumer products.

BfR reports to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)

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