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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

Reference Delegation Day: an annual meeting of the reference laboratories

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News of 24/05/2018

Every year, ANSES brings together all the French holders of the national reference laboratory and European Union reference laboratory mandates, with support from the Joint Laboratory Service of the fraud control and customs services. This delegation day aims to improve cooperation and sharing of experience, and symbolises the importance of reference work to ANSES's missions.

With sixty-five national, nine European and 26 international reference mandates, ANSES's scientific teams hold reference mandates in many areas of food safety, animal health and plant health. In this regard, every year, with the support of the Joint Laboratory Service (SCL) of the fraud control and customs services, ANSES organises a reference delegation event, a day of discussions between the representatives of all the national (NRL) and European Union (EURL) reference laboratories whose mandates are held by French organisations, in order to share the latest news in this field and discuss developments.

For this year's edition, discussions will centre on exchanging good practices and strengthening cooperation between the different laboratories. ANSES will also take advantage of the meeting to present LEILA, the new tool for online management of ANSES's interlaboratory tests. Indeed, as well as developing methods to detect pathogens, chemicals and drug residues, the reference laboratories use interlaboratory tests to assess the quality of the country’s veterinary and food analysis laboratories. In this way, the reference laboratories can guarantee the reliability of the analyses carried out by all the accredited laboratories, at national, European or international level.

Scientific and technical support for risk managers

The numerous mandates held by ANSES are acknowledgement of the ability of its scientific teams to develop increasingly effective reference methods, and also reflect our high level of recognition within the scientific community. This scientific excellence enables it to conduct quality surveillance for many pathogens or contaminants, and provide scientific and technical support to public policymakers.   

Reference, an essential asset for monitoring and anticipating emerging risks

In conjunction with research, ANSES’s reference laboratories also provide the Agency with a link to the field through the networks of accredited laboratories they coordinate. This link is an essential asset enabling it to respond more rapidly during the resurgence or emergence of new pathogens and contaminants. As such, the reference laboratories participate fully in ANSES's monitoring and alert missions, helping it anticipate or prevent emerging risks.

Recent crises in France (Salmonella in powdered infant formula, fipronil in eggs, avian influenza in fattened duck holdings, bluetongue, etc.) and Europe (Listeria monocytogenes in frozen corn) highlighted the ability of ANSES's reference teams to respond rapidly to health emergencies, thereby contributing to greater safety for consumers and agricultural production.