European Commission selects 5 reference laboratories to promote plant health

EUROPE – The European Commission has chosen five centers as its first European reference laboratories (EURLs) in the field of Plant health.

These include four consortia and one laboratory, which have been designated to support the European Union in diagnosis of regulated existing and emerging pests and contribute to a more rapid and focused intervention at EU borders and in the EU territory.

According to the commission, the reference centers will cover the five types of regulated pests endangering plant health in the EU territory.

The purpose of the reference laboratories is to promote uniform and high standard practices in relation to the development or use of the methods of analysis, test or diagnosis employed by the official laboratories in Plant health.

They will also provide a coordinated assistance to the national laboratories, to avoid the use of different methods leading to uncertain diagnosis.

They are set to contribute to the dissemination of good practices, and of research and information on technical innovations, as well as carrying out training courses.

Three of the reference laboratories will be led by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES, France).

These include EURL on insects and mites, composed of the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES, Austria); EURL on nematodes, together with the Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO, Belgium); and the EURL on fungi and oomycetes.

Two other centers will be led by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority-National Reference Centre Plant Health (NVWA-NRC, The Netherlands).

They will promote plant health in the areas of viruses, viroids, and phytoplasmas as well as bacteria.

The centers leading research on viruses, viroids, and phytoplasmas are composed of the Research Centre for Plant Protection and Certification (CREA-DC (DIALAB), Italy), and the National Institute of Biology (NIB, Slovenia).

Those dealing with bacteria include the Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO, Belgium), the Research Centre for Plant Protection and Certification (CREA-DC (DIALAB), Italy), and the National Institute of Biology (NIB, Slovenia).

EU rules on plant health aim to protect crops, fruits, vegetables, flowers, ornamentals and forests from harmful pests and diseases (harmful organisms) by preventing their introduction into the EU or their spread within the EU.

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