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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

Reference activities at the international level

The Agency, thanks to its laboratories, carries out a large number of reference activities both at the EU level and for international organisations, mainly in the areas of food safety and animal health. It also has mandates as a collaborating centre, thereby providing expertise and scientific and technical support.


Reference laboratories

For some pathogenic agents such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites, regulated chemical contaminants or significant emerging contaminants, the health authorities need a robust surveillance system with a network of reliable laboratories to perform official analytical testing. For each pathogen or regulated contaminant to be monitored, accredited laboratories that carry out analyses, along with a laboratory known as a “reference” laboratory, are appointed by the health authorities. This reference laboratory guarantees the reliability of the tests performed by all the accredited laboratories.
In addition to the national reference mandates granted to the Agency by the national government, ANSES has reference mandates from the following organisations:

  •  The European Commission
  • The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)
  • The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)

 See our page on European reference mandates and the page on international mandates.
By developing methodologies, carrying out training programmes, and organising inter-laboratory proficiency testing, the Agency helps to reinforce and to harmonise the analytical testing abilities of laboratories within Europe and internationally. These activities, which ensure the reliability of the data produced by analysis laboratories, are particularly important for both the health authorities and the Agency. These data determine whether risk management measures are to be taken, but they also support risk assessment activities.
The Agency has developed close working relationships with its main counterpart agencies in Europe that act as reference laboratories in animal health and in food safety. It draws on these partnerships to pool and share projects, and to optimise the use of resources in order to face the vast and increasingly complex challenges involved in reference activities.

Collaborating centres

In addition to its mandates as reference laboratory, ANSES also has mandates as collaborating centre:

  • For the World Health Organisation (WHO):

A WHO collaborating centre is a body appointed by the Director General of the WHO to participate in a collaborative inter-institutional network set up by the organisation with the aim of providing support to its national, inter-country, regional, inter-regional and worldwide programmes.
See WHO webpage on Collaborating Centres

  • For the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE):

OIE Collaborating centres are centres of expertise in a specific designated sphere of competence relating to the management of general questions on animal health issues falling within their specialist area. In this specialist area, collaborating centres are called on to provide their expertise to all countries worldwide.
See OIE webpage for Collaborating Centres
See our page on international mandates.