Christoph von Holst
European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Reference Materials and
Measurements, Retieseweg 111, B-2440 Geel, Belgium
The compliance of feed with European legislation is a in an important prerequisite for the safety of feed. Specifications of the feed composition are set at European level regarding various aspects such as the use of feed additives or the presence of undesirable substances. Also the utilisation of animal by-products including meat and bone meal in animal nutrition is regulated by European legislation.
The actual compliance of feed samples with these provisions is – however – checked by Member States’ official control laboratory, i.e. at National level. Nevertheless, it is of utmost importance that these controls are carried out in a harmonised manner throughout the European Union. It is one of the major tasks of Community Reference Laboratories (CRLs) to assure the implementation of this principle.
In general, CRLs are based on two different legal branches, namely the European Regulations specifying the authorisation of feed additives and genetically modified organism and the official food and feed Regulation EC (No) 882/2004 specifying the frame in which National official laboratory carry out the official control of samples to establish whether they comply with European legislation.
The CRL for feed additives has been established by Regulation (EC) No 1831/2003 implementing a new system for the authorisation of feed additives. As part of the authorisation procedure the CRL evaluates the suitability of the analytical methods that are proposed by the applicant in order to determine the active substance in various matrices such as animal feed. A special emphasis is placed on the applicability of the methods in the frame of official control. The evaluation is carried out in close cooperation with a network of National Reference Laboratories NRLs.
Other CRLs such as those working on the determination of meat and bone meal or contaminants have different tasks as listed in Regulation EC (No) 882/2004. One of their tasks is to conduct interlaboratory studies to assess the application of relevant analytical methods by the NRLs.
European Union’s Community Reference Laboratory, official control of feed samples