For 2021-2022, the following general priority areas are specified:
1. The provision of certified reference material and methods of laboratory analysis:
To detect and quantify chemical, biological and microbiological hazards (chemicals, contaminants, pesticides, pathogens),
To detect the presence of unauthorised GMOs in food and feed and to detect and quantify authorised GMOs in view of enabling the verification of compliance with the GMO legislation,
To detect unauthorised substances or the unauthorised use of authorised substances,
To develop and validate methods of diagnosis for regulated and where considered necessary, un-regulated plant pests and diseases;
2. The development of methods to detect fraudulent practices;
3. The development of methods to characterise with precision the nature of animal protein detected in feed for farmed animals in terms of species and tissue;
4. Through timely communication of relevant information, ensure the use of adequate methods of laboratory analysis when tolerances (maximum levels/maximum limits, migration limit) are modified or new reference methods are introduced in legislation;
5. To advise on improved official control requirements on animal welfare rules (e.g. on transport, slaughter and farming) to better meet the specific needs of animals guarantying their welfare.
The general objective of the action is to contribute to public, animal and plant health, food safety, animal welfare and the quality of animals, plants and goods produced and traded in the agri-food chain. This is done by ensuring the availability of harmonised, high quality and reliable methods of laboratory analysis, test, diagnosis, genetic evaluation and performance testing, and by ensuring their correct implementation by NRLs, by official laboratories in official controls, investigations, other official activities and by breed societies carrying out approved breeding programmes.
The specific objectives are:
- To maintain and improve effectiveness, efficiency and reliability of official controls and other official activities, and thus support the enforcement of compliance with applicable legislation;
- To contribute to a timely detection and eradication of diseases and pests;
- To ensure the availability and uniform application of methods for performance testing and genetic evaluation for purebred breeding animals of the bovine species.
In 2021 and 2022, the Commission has awarded funding to 44 EURLs and 4 EURCs. Among other things, these grants are contributing to the following:
- Improvement and harmonisation of methods of analysis, testing or diagnosis to be used by official laboratories;
- Development of methods for the assessment of the level of welfare of animals and of methods for the improvement of the welfare of animals;
- Dissemination of research findings and technical innovations and;
- Collaboration with laboratories in non-EU countries and with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
In 2021 and 2022, the Commission has awarded €39.4 million to 44 EURLs and 4 EURCs.