The EU-Control Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2017/625) regulates, in addition to other legal areas such as food and feed, animal health and plant protection, official controls and other official activities in the field of plant health for the first time.
The aim of this regulation is to improve controls in the EU and to raise them to a uniform level and to deliver reliable and, above all, comparable results within the EU.
The European Reference Laboratories (EU-RLs) represent a unique platform for the exchange of information on diagnostic methods and quality assurance tools for control laboratories. Together with the network of National Reference Laboratories (NRLs), they have a pool of knowledge and facilities that best qualify them to address new plant health challenges.
Five pest categories
To achieve these objectives, reference laboratories for five plant pest categories were appointed by the European Commission on 1 August 2019:
- EU Directive on Bacteria
- EU-RL for mushrooms and egg mushrooms
- EU-RL for viruses, viroids and phytoplasmas
- EU-RL for nematodes
- EU directive for insects and mites
AGES, together with its French sister organisation ANSES, received the mandate for insects and mites. AGES thus became a European reference laboratory for the first time.
Tasks of the European Reference Laboratories Plant Health
European reference laboratories developeand validate analytical methods, carry out arbitral analyses, advise the European Commission and support national reference laboratories.
- The National Reference Laboratories receive detailed information on diagnostic methods and the EU Directives provide reference material for them. This contributes to European standardisation of diagnostic methods and ensures that the quality of analytical data obtained in the different NRLs is comparable.
- This ensures the quality of the data obtained in the various laboratories, which are also required for European risk assessments (e.g. Pest Risk Assessment).
- Training will be provided for NRL staff and experts from third countries; improving technical expertise will also improve the quality of the diagnosis.
- Provision of scientific and technical support to the European Commission (e.g. when a new pest occurs in a Member State).
The European Union Reference Laboratory for Insects and Mites