Finnish Food Authority’s laboratories have national reference laboratory nominations in 45 different areas of analytics and diagnostics.
The duties of a national reference laboratory include:
- Cooperation with EU reference laboratories and participation in proficiency tests and training organised by them.
- Providing guidance and advice to approved laboratories in order to harmonise and improve laboratory methods used by them.
- Organising proficiency tests for approved laboratories, when needed.
- Monitoring the performance of approved laboratories in proficiency tests.
- Taking part in the implementation and planning of the multiannual national control plan for the Finnish food supply chain (VASU) and other national control and monitoring programmes.
- Assisting competent authorities with investigating causes of food poisoning, zoonotic disease and animal and plant disease outbreaks; and especially in verification and identification of pathogens and epidemiological studies.
- Assisting competent authorities with recognising product batches that are in breach of regulations.
Reference laboratory activities aim to ensure the reliability of laboratory results made for official control purposes and that such results sustain national and international harmonisation.
OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) has also nominated Finnish Food Authority as an OIE crayfish plague diagnostics reference laboratory. In this role, Finnish Food Authority gives guidance about the diagnostics of crayfish plague laboratories throughout the world.