Reference Laboratory functions
Cefas is designated by the European Commission as the European Union
Reference Laboratory (EURL), and by the
Food Standards Agency as the UK's National
Reference Laboratory (NRL), for monitoring bacteriological and
viral contamination of bivalve molluscs.
The EURL and the NRL laboratory network, comprising one NRL per
European member state or European Free Trade Association (EFTA),
work together towards understanding and reducing microbiological
contamination of live bivalve molluscs to improve consumer safety.
There is particular emphasis on ensuring that standardised systems
are used to check the quality of bivalve shellfish.
The network also collaborates in research initiatives, training
and quality-assurance programmes to ensure effective monitoring of
shellfish harvesting areas and the control of potentially harmful
viral and bacterial contamination.
The remit of the EURL and NRLs is set out in European Commission
Regulation (EC) No 882/2004, of 29 April 2004. The main
- information and guidance on relevant analytical methods
- working with NRLs on the application of methods (by comparative
testing, in particular)
- co-ordinating research into new methods
- organising training courses and workshops
- collaborating with third-country laboratories
- providing scientific and technical assistance to the European
- helping reference laboratories implement quality-assurance
systems (such as accreditation).
Further information about our activities as the EURL, and a
range of downloadable information, is available from our dedicated
EURL website: www.eurlcefas.org/.
- co-ordinating the activities of various national laboratories
in the member state
- assisting the member state's competent authority to organise a
monitoring system for viral and bacteriological contamination
- organising comparative tests between the national laboratories
in the member state
- disseminating information provided by the EURL.
Further information about our activities as the NRL, and a range
of downloadable information, is available from our dedicated NRL