In the context of the EU strategy aimed at improving animal health and establishing the single market for live animals and animal products, a network of European Union and National reference laboratories dealing with major animal diseases has been gradually set up.
The Council and the Commission have designated European Union reference laboratories (EU-RLs) with scientific and technical expertise within the areas of animal health, public health and zootechnics in a number of legal acts. These legal acts contain provisions that specify the functions and duties of each designated European Union Reference Laboratory. The designation of European Union reference Laboratories should contribute to a high quality and uniformity of analytical results.
Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules, which applies from 1 January 2006, lays down the general tasks, duties and requirements for EU-RLs for food and feed and for animal health. EU-RL's for animal health and zootechnics are listed in Annex VIII to the above mentioned Regulation. That list contains all EU-RLs for animal health and zootechnics designated in other acts.
Functions and duties of the EU-RLs consist notably of providing information on analysis methods and organising comparative tests with the national reference laboratories, coordinating the application of the methods and research into new analysis methods, organising training and advanced courses for national reference laboratory staff and providing scientific and technical assistance to the Commission.
Apart from these duties and functions the Commission approves an annual working plan for each EU-RL specifying their tasks for the next year.
EU-RLs recently designated
In 2011 the following EU-RLs were designated by the Commission:
- Bee health (Commission Regulation (EU) 87/2011)
In 2008 the following EU-RLs were designated by the Commission:
- Equine diseases other that African Horse Sickness (Commission Regulation (EC) No 180/2008).
- Bovine tuberculosis (Commission Regulation (EC) No 737/2008).
- Crustacean diseases (Commission Regulation (EC) No 737/2008).
- Rabies (Commission Regulation (EC) No 737/2008).
For information on the work programmes of the European Union Reference Laboratories in the Field of Animal Health and Live Animals for 2008, 2009 and 2010 please see the attached Working Programmes:
- Working Document for 2007
- Working Document for 2008
- Working Document for 2009
- Working Document for 2010
List of EU-RLs in the field of animal health and live animals
Please find below the list of the different European Union Reference Laboratories in the field of animal health and live animals
NAME OF LABORATORY PER DISEASE
ADDRESS AND CONTACT DETAILS
|EU-RL for Avian Influenza||
|EU-RL for Newcastle Disease||
|EU-RL for Bluetongue||
|EU-RL for African Horses sickness||
|EU-RL for Foot and Mouth Disease||
|EU-RL for Swine Vesicular Disease||
|EU-RL for African Swine Fever||
|EU-RL for Classical Swine Fever||
|EU-RL for Rabies (serology)||
|EU-RL for Bivalve molluscs diseases||
|EU-RL for Zootechnics (bovine breeding)||
|EU-RL for Brucellosis||
|EU-RL for Fish diseases||
|EU-RL for Bovine Tuberculosis||
|EU-RL for Crustacen Diseases||
|EU-RL equine diseases other than AHS||
European Union Reference Laboratories' evaluation
In accordance with the Communication from the Commission on a new Animal Health Strategy for the EU and in the Action Plan of the new Animal Health Strategy, DG SANCO carried out an external evaluation of the EU-RLs in the field of animal health and live animals for 2009.
The main purpose of the evaluation was to assess the performance of the EU-RLs during the past 15 years, especially as regards effectiveness and efficiency and to identify areas for improvement to ensure high quality and harmonisation of laboratory testing of animal diseases across the European Union, taking into account the current animal health situation in the EU.
The scope of the evaluation will concern the following EU-RLs in the field of animal health and live animals: EU-RLs for avian influenza, Newcastle disease, bluetongue, classical swine fever, African swine fever, swine vesicular disease, African horse sickness, rabies serology, fish diseases, molluscs' diseases, zootechnics and for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. EU-RLs for foot-and-mouth disease, Brucellosis, equine diseases other than African horse sickness, crustacean diseases, rabies and bovine tuberculosis are not included in the evaluation as they have been appointed only very recently.
The evaluation was performed by an external contractor (VetEffect-Agraceas consortium) selected through an Open Call for Tender. The final report of the evaluation can be found here .