National reference laboratories
Undesirable materials in foodstuffs may pose a health risk. With consumer protection in mind, the level of such substances in foodstuffs is regulated by law and monitoring carried out to detect their presence. In order to be able to carry out the investigations needed for controls of this nature, comparable measurement methods are needed. This task is performed by the national reference laboratories.
With the new Swiss Foodstuffs Act, collaboration with the European Union has been stepped up in the area of food safety. Switzerland participates in the network made up of EU reference laboratories (EU-RL) and national reference laboratories (NRL). National reference laboratories have been designated for this purpose in Switzerland.
The national reference laboratories function as interfaces between the cantonal laboratories appointed to carry out the official controls and the European reference laboratories. They ensure that the monitoring activities are harmonised. They coordinate the development and implementation of methods, pass on the information, take account of research and provide scientific and technical support to the competent authorities.
In the light of its expertise, METAS has been nominated by the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) as the reference laboratory for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in foodstuffs and the reference laboratory for chemical elements in foodstuffs.
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