Since 1st January 2001, the European Union has forbidden the use of processed animal proteins in feed for animals raised for food production.On 29 April 2004, the European Parliament and the Council have adopted the directive (CE) n° 882/2004, improving the effectiveness of the official food and feed controls while redefining the obligations of the relevant authorities and in particular the general tasks of the European Union Reference Laboratories (EURLs). On 23 May 2006, the directive of the European Commission (CE) n° 776/2006, has nominated the Walloon Agricultural Research Centre, the European Union Reference Laboratory for the detection of Animal Proteins in feedingstuffs (EURL-AP) for the 2006-2011 period.
The European Union Reference Laboratory was created in order to ensure a high level of quality, a uniformity of the results and to assist in the development and the validation of new analytical tools and methods to support the detection of animal proteins in feedingstuffs.
Description of tasks
The EURL-AP will develop the following priority axes to fulfil its mission:
- To provide National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) with detailed analytical methods, including reference methods for the network of Member States NRLs,
- To coordinate the correct implementation by NRLs of the methods by organizing interlaboratory studies
- To develop new analytical methods for the detection of animal proteins in feedingstuffs (NIR and classical microscopy, polymerase chain reaction, immunology …),
- To conduct training courses for the benefit of NRLs staffs from Member States and candidate countries,
- To provide scientific and technical assistance to the European Commission, especially in cases where a Member States contest the results of analyses from another Member State or from a country outside EU.
Up to now, the CRA-W has already undertaken and realised the following initiatives:
· Creation of the NRL network (with a centralised repository of reference scientists).
· Creation of a EURL-AP public website.
· Creation of a secure EURL-AP Intranet for diffusion and sharing of information amongst the 26 NRLs.
· Publication of a EURL-AP Newsletter (three times a year).
· Organisation of EURL-AP Workshops (in 2007 in Gembloux, in 2008 in Namur, in 2009 in Gembloux).
· Creation of a feed microscopy course on the detection of animal proteins.
· Organisation of training sessions for the NRLs (theoretical and practical courses for the identification of animal particles in feed).
· The development of a sample database management software (SMS for Sample Management System) for a collection of up to 2600 animal feed or ingredient.
· Creation of an online micrographs collection for the NRL network (around 600 pictures).
· Organisation of collaborative trials (2 interlaboratory studies for method validation and 2 proficiency test for the NRL network).
· Maintain the CRA-W accreditation scope in NIR microscopy and classical microscopy.
· Development of new markers for the classical microscopic method for the detection of animal proteins in feed.
· Alternative light microscopic approaches (UV, DIC, DF, POL, Phase contrast).
· Development of a robust quantification method requested for future partial lift of the total feed ban.
· Development of a real time PCR method for the detection of animal proteins in feed.
· Assessment and comparison of commercial immunoassay kit.
· Participation in other European research projects (Safeed-Pap, Feed for Health).
· Contribution and participation to IAG feed microscopy section meeting.
· Organisation of missions on request of the DG Sanco (sampling missions, dedicated onsite training sessions in EU).
· Participation in international congresses and meetings in the field of feed safety.
· Visits and audits of NRLs on behalf of the European Commission.
The CRA-W, as EURL, has in charge the coordination and management of the NRL network. Thus all proficiency testing, workshops, trainings, scientific advice to the NRLs are centralized in Gembloux.
The EURL-AP coordinated by the CRA-W includes a network of 26 NRLs elected by the European Commission among the Member States.
- CE - DG Research