Quality assistance for the NRL network
The EURL-AP is responsible for the correct application of the official methods as stated by European regulation EC/152/2009 (consolidated) by classical microscopy and PCR. Testing the capabilities of each NRL is thus a priority. This is achieved through the organization of yearly proficiency tests. Participation to those proficiency tests is mandatory for each NRL of the network.
A typical proficiency test for the detection of animal proteins in feed include the following steps :
- Definition and preparation of a blind sample set. Blindness of the sample is critical since some sample will be adulterated with fish or terrestrial processed meals at different levels of concentrations while some samples will remain unadulterated or blank. The ability of the participants to identify the blanks from adulterated ones is a part of the parameters that need to be evaluated.
- Homogeneity study of the prepared samples
- Announcement of the test
- Diffusion of the clear instructions and well defined deadlines
- Sending of the samples
- Analysis of the samples by the participants and return on due date of the results to the organizer - the EURL-AP.
- Data treatment of the results by EURL-AP scientists and writing of the report.
- Distribution of a "working document" version of the report to the participants and the stakeholder of the test, DG Sanco.
- Presentation and discussion of the report during EURL-AP Annual Workshop
- Preparation of final report, which turns public.
In addition the EURL-AP is also asking the NRLs to participate to interlaboratory studies (or collaborative studies according to Commission decision EC/657/2002). Interlaboratory studies are may not be strictly related to skills assessment but rather to research purposes (such as for determining the performance of a new method). Participation to such studies is mandatory to.
Based on proficiency test results, NRLs that reveal to be underperforming are notified to the DG Sanco. The EURL-AP always requests inquiry in case of NRL’s underperformance in order to find a scientific explanation for the observed deficiency. NRLs may always rely on help from the EURL-AP team in order to find solutions. NRLs may also be subjected to EURL-AP audits.