The European Union took another pragmatic step for better health protection of European citizens on March 16. European commissioner for health Markos Kyprianou inaugurated three new laboratories under the umbrella of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) to support the control of Heavy metals, mycotoxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in food items and animal feed.
Presenting the three Community Reference Laboratories (CRLs) at the commission's Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) at Geel, Belgium, commissioner Kyprianou said, "A strong pan-European network of Laboratories is essential to create a more efficient regulatory framework and to boost public confidence in the safety of our food and feed products. So I welcome the inauguration of these new Community Reference Laboratories, which will provide essential scientific data and contribute to informed and responsible policy decisions."
Explaining the reason behind, "the safest food in the EU," Kyprianou told journalists, "It does not come naturally. It takes great effort. Today the consumers trust us because we try to make sure of highest level of food safety from farm to fork."
Addressing journalists, Alejandro Herrero, Director, IRMM said, "JRC is independent of national or commercial interests and strives to provide scientific input into policy matters. It is very important to keep up vigilance required to take care of food for consumers across Europe."
Stressing "safety and health" factors, Herrero said, "It is essential to maintain compatibility across Europe and JRC makes sure that same standardisation is maintained across European Union." "Impact of reliable tests can be felt as the restoration of consumer confidence returns after a crisis."
Outlining the role of the new laboratories in keeping food and animal feed safe across the EU, Philip Tod, commission spokesman for health affairs told journalists, "These three CRLs ensure that the testing of Heavy metals, mycotoxins and PAHs is performed to a reliable standard across the food chain. They will validate methods for the detection and monitoring of the identified food hazards and organise comparative tests so that the national laboratories can benchmark their capabilities."
"The CRLs therefore contribute to European consumers' confidence in the overall system put in place to guarantee the safety of their food."