We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
The rights of consumers and citizens are protected through the implementation of corresponding legislation monitored by the official control bodies. They make sure that what people buy is safe for consumption and application, that what is written on labels of food and consumer products corresponds to their contents, and that claims and promises about a product’s properties are truthful.
Measurements are the backbone of these assessments, monitoring not only products that are purchased within national borders, but also performing import/export control in harbours and at EU borders.
In order to keep the costs of monitoring affordable, duplication and multiplication of analytical work should be avoided. This is possible through the work of the JRC in support of the measurement community with fit-for-purpose scientific advice and quality assurance tools. They facilitate trade and help in resolving disputes when disagreements occur.
Control authorities accept or reject goods arriving in their countries in order to maximise the protection of their citizens. Those decisions are often based on analytical measurements e.g. regarding harmful contaminants or ingredients in food and in personal and healthcare consumer products.
Official laboratories rely on quality assurance tools such as standardised and harmonised analytical methodologies like those provided by the JRC, especially when they have to defend their analytical results in case of legal disputes.
The European Union is committed to countering nuclear proliferation, pursuing disarmament and ensuring that the best safety, security and non-proliferation standards are followed in countries using nuclear energy. Therefore, inspectors of the Euratom safeguards and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) undertake regular inspections of civil nuclear facilities and of the movement of nuclear materials to ensure that materials like uranium and plutonium are used only for peaceful purposes. In addition, inspectors collect environmental samples to look at their isotopic signature, particularly in view of the detection of any undeclared material or activities.
The JRC is recognised worldwide as a producer of nuclear reference materials; it develops nuclear reference methods and runs nuclear inter-laboratory comparison programmes. By providing these measurement quality control tools, the JRC is directly contributing to the effectiveness of nuclear safeguards and security systems. It also supports authorities in meeting the challenge to achieve their required high level of detection probability.