[WG] Working groups and guidance documents
The agenda of the working groups includes several aspects regarding analytical methodologies, practical issues for laboratories to set up methods, proposal for analytical criteria, emerging new contaminants, EFSA opinions and European Commission requests. Active members of the EURL/NRL network (representatives of NRLs or invited experts) with relevant experience and contributions (also including participation in related interlaboratory exercises) can join CWGs.
Cluster of EURLs for Contaminants
The current EURLS for Contaminants are meeting regularly to promote scientific exchange between the networks and to develop or update joint documents on several topics such as LOQ, MU, significant figures, or performance criteria.
The EURLs for Contaminants are:
[EURL contaminants cluster] Joint guidance documents
In 2016 the four EURLs working in the field of contaminants at that time, the EURL for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, EURL for Heavy Metals, EURL for Mycotoxins and EURL for Dioxins and PCBs, developed and published a joint "Guidance Document on the Estimation of LOD and LOQ for Measurements in the Field of Contaminants in Feed and Food". In the field of Dioxins and PCBs a CWG of representatives of NRLs and invited experts contributed to this document.
Recently, the new cluster of EURLs for Contaminants (EURL for metals and nitrogenous compounds (MN), EURL for mycotoxins and plant toxins (MP), EURL for processing contaminants (PC) and EURL for halogenated POPs in feed and food (POPs)) has developed a new Guidance Document, recommending one universal approach barring any different requirements by legislation. This "Guidance Document on the Estimation of LOQ for Measurements in the Field of Contaminants in Feed and Food" was published in 2022.
[BCon] BCons and PCNs
A Core Working Group (CWG) “Brominated contaminants (BCons) and PCNs” was formed for discussion and conclusions on analytical methods and criteria as well as the possible identification of relevant brominated contaminants in food and feed. Due to the increasing relevance of PCNs this analyte group is also covered by this CWG. The CWG will focus on the further work on the guidance document on analytical criteria for analysis of these compounds in combination with the description of example methods. Conclusions will be shared with the whole EURL/NRL network.
[PFAS] Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)
A Core Working Group (CWG) “Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs)” has been formed in 2018 for discussion and conclusions on analytical methods and criteria. Focus will be set on the lowering of LOQs for the analysis of the four relevant PFASs identified by EFSA (and additional compounds of interest) in food and feed. Furthermore, the CWG will further work on the guidance document on analytical criteria for analysis of PFASs in food and feed. Conclusions will be shared and discussed with the whole EURL/NRL network.
[CP] Chlorinated paraffins
A Core Working Group (CWG) “Chlorinated paraffins” has been formed in 2016 for harmonisation of analytical methods, i.e. providing an analytical guidance document to ease the setting up of CP analysis and work on establishing analytical criteria. Meetings of this CWG are held to discuss current PT results, further work on the Guidance Document on CP analysis and joint publications on relevant topics. Conclusions will be shared with the whole EURL/NRL network.
Other core working groups Congener pattern and analytical criteria
2013 – 2019 Congener patterns of PCDD/Fs and PCBs
A Core Working Group (CWG) “Dioxin congener patterns” was formed in 2013 addressing the problems to build up a database for congener patterns for identification of sources. Therefore, a congener pattern database was established and a software for evaluation of the pattern developed.
Publication "Congener patterns of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, dibenzofurans and biphenyls as a useful aid to source identification during a contamination incident in the food chain"
2008 – 2013 Bioassay
A Core Working Group (CWG) “Re-evaluation of Analytical Criteria for Bioassays” was formed in 2008 for discussion and re-evaluation of the analytical criteria for bioassays established in EU regulations. The suggestions of the core working group for adapted criteria for bioanalytical screening methods for determination of PCDD/Fs and DL-PCBs in feed and food were included in the respective EU regulations.
A Core Working Group (CWG) "Possible use of new MS techniques / instruments for determination of dioxins and PCBs in feed and food” was established in 2010. New technical developments for sensitive GC-MS/MS determination of PCDD/Fs and PCBs in food and feed and options for analytical criteria for GC-MS/MS confirmatory methods were discussed and evaluated in this CWG. The suggestions of the core working group for analytical criteria for GC-MS/MS confirmatory methods for determination of PCDD/Fs and DL-PCBs in feed and food were included in the respective EU regulations.
[MU] Measurement uncertainty
A Core Working Group was formed in 2012 for discussion and conclusions on methodologies to determine measurement uncertainty when performing PCDD/F analysis using isotope dilution mass spectrometry. This work culminated 2017 in a Guidance Document describing several methods in detail and introducing a new concept with emphasis on the inclusion of current method performance data. EURL POPs organises training courses for NRLs on the application of this concept, especially using a specifically developed Excel sheet for calculation.
Cooperation with other institutions ETN REVAMP
Starting mid-2021, the EU-funded REVAMP (Reference materials and validated methods for emerging pollutants) project under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network (ETN) will offer innovative training to four early-stage researchers (ESRs). It aims for scalable solutions to rapidly identify, develop, produce and implement new certified reference materials and methods for the assessment of new and existing chemical compounds, in particular chlorinated paraffins (CPs) and perfluorinated alkyl compounds (PFAS). The ESRs will combine scientific research and business experience to solve specific challenges at the interface of organic and analytical chemistry, and toxicology relevant to the chemical metrology sector. With the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam as main organiser, other project partners are Chiron (Trondheim, Norway), The Marine Institute (Galway, Ireland), Bruker (Bremen, Germany), Waters (Manchester, UK) and the EURL POPs.
EURL POPs will welcome two PhD candidates for four months working on PFAS and CP analysis.