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National Reference Laboratory for Animal Proteins in Feed
In the European Union the feeding of protein obtained from mammals to livestock, which is intended for food production, is prohibited (Regulation (EC) No 999/2001). There are only a few exemptions from this strict feed ban (e.g. products made from milk or eggs). The only official validated method at the present time for the detection of animal components in feed is based on microscopy (Regulation (EC) No 152/2009). However, the results obtained with this detection method depend very much on the expertise, skill and experience of the test laboratory. Hence for routine tests other detection methods are interesting which can be immediately used by any laboratory.
The National Reference Laboratory for Animal Proteins in Feed within BfR develops and validates new alternative methods which either detect proteins directly on the basis of their sequence or detect the presence of the species via the presence of hereditary material (DNA). It then makes them available to feed control as standard methods. Proficiency tests (examinations of the reliability of a laboratory) are also envisaged. Laboratories must take part in these tests within the framework of accreditation in accordance with the International Standard (ISO 17025). Other tasks of the National Reference Laboratory are to ensure that the information supplied by the Community Reference Laboratory Walloon Agricultural Research Centre (CRA-W) in Gembloux, Belgium, is passed on to the competent authorities and the official national laboratories.
In the case of referee analyses the National Reference Laboratory works closely with a co-operation partner on the microscopic analyses. Furthermore, the Reference Laboratory stages training courses and workshops on detection methods.