interlaboratory studies Proficiency tests

The EURL provides proficiency testing for its main target analytes once a year in feed and food samples for the national reference laboratories of EU member states according to Regulation (EU) 2017/625 free of charge. Other national reference laboratories, official control laboratories and commercial laboratories providing self-monitoring for food and feed producers may participate for a fee.

[DPB] PCDD/Fs, PCBs, PBDEs, HBCDDs

Proficiency tests (PTs) on PCDD/Fs, PCBs, PBDEs, HBCDDs are organised in a food matrix and a feed matrix once a year. The objective is to assess analytical performance of laboratories and the interlaboratory comparability of results from analyses of these analytes in the target matrices. Recent matrices included fish fillet, baby food and feed fat. These exercises include the use of physico-chemical and screening methods (bioassay).

National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) for halogenated POPs in Feed and Food from EU member states are requested to participate as part of their work programme for 2021. NRLs are invited to encourage the participation of Official Laboratories (OFLs) from their member states as part of their duties following Article 101 of Regulation (EU) 2017/625. The evaluation of results is performed according to ISO 13528:2020 and the “International Harmonized Protocol for the Proficiency Testing of Analytical Chemistry Laboratories”. At the end of the PT, a certificate is issued to each participant.

[PFAS] PFAS

Proficiency tests (PTs) on PFAS focus on the analytical performance of laboratories and the inter-laboratory comparability of these results. Currently, the focus is on analyses of short- and long-chain perfluoroalkylcarboxylic acids and short- and long-chain perfluoroalkylsulfonic acids in feed and food samples. Since 2019, PTs for PFAS are organised once a year in samples prepared from commercial food/feed. Recently offered materials were for example fish fillet or wheat flour. The laboratories are free to use any methods and measuring systems for the analysis. The evaluation is performed according to ISO 13528:2015 and the “International Harmonized Protocol for the Proficiency Testing of Analytical Chemistry Laboratories”. At the end of the PT, a certificate is issued to each participant.

[CP] CPs

Proficiency tests on CPs are focussing on enhancing comparability between the many different analysis methods currently in use. As previous exercises have shown that sample preparation only plays a minor role in determining comparability, main objective is harmonisation of GC and LC methods, if possible both for HRMS and LRMS. These exercises are organised once per year, samples will be prepared from food available on the market. Analytes of interest are SCCPs, MCCPs and the sum of CPs (total CPs for LRMs or non-MS instruments). Homologue patterns are requested, but not evaluated as part of the exercise.

National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) for halogenated POPs in Feed and Food from EU member states are requested to participate as part of their work programme for 2021. NRLs are invited to encourage the participation of Official Laboratories (OFLs) from their member states as part of their duties following Article 101 of Regulation (EU) 2017/625. The evaluation of results is performed according to ISO 13528:2020, the “International Harmonized Protocol for the Proficiency Testing of Analytical Chemistry Laboratories” and the “EU Reference Laboratories for Pesticides General Protocol for EU Proficiency Tests on Pesticide Residues in Food and Feed, 4th Edition”. At the end of the PT, a certificate is issued to each participant.

[PCN] PCNs

Interlaboratory studies on PCNs in food matrices, organised since 2021, are meant to assess the interlaboratory comparability of results in a fortified food sample. Exercises might be organised together with other analyte groups, e.g. brominated contaminants. Recent matrices included fortified cod liver oil and other fortified lipids. It is recommended to focus on the 12 main congeners (PCN 52, 53, 60, 66- 69, 71- 75), but all detected PCN congeners are analytes of interest. Official laboratories, research laboratories and commercial laboratories performing the analysis of samples taken by food business operators are invited to participate in these interlaboratory studies. The evaluation of results is performed according to ISO 13528:2020 and the “International Harmonized Protocol for the Proficiency Testing of Analytical Chemistry Laboratories”.

[BFR] Emerging BFRs/ Brominated Contaminants

Interlaboratory studies on emerging and novel brominated contaminants in food matrices are organised annually since 2021 to further method harmonisation and competency among the NRLs. They have been previously included in other PT schemes as optional analytes, e.g. in fish fillet 2020, but without further evaluation due to low participation. Analytes of interest are PBBz, HBB, PBT, PBEB, BTBPE, DBDPE and TBX; exercises on brominated contaminants might additionally include PBDEs, HBCDD and TBBPA. Official laboratories, research laboratories and commercial laboratories performing the analysis of samples taken by food business operators are invited to participate in these interlaboratory studies. The evaluation of results is performed according to ISO 13528:2020 and the “International Harmonized Protocol for the Proficiency Testing of Analytical Chemistry Laboratories”.