Following the publication of Commission Regulation (EU) 2018/222 the responsibilities of the EURL for Monitoring Bacteriological and Viral Contamination of Bivalve Molluscs at Cefas have been transferred to the EU Reference Laboratories for the analysis and testing of zoonoses (salmonella) (, the EU reference laboratory for Escherichia coli, including verotoxigenic E. coli (vtec) (, and the EU reference laboratory for foodborne viruses The EU reference laboratory for the monitoring of marine biotoxins has taken over the activities related to the classification and monitoring of production areas for bivalve molluscs ( Information on Cefas’ International Reference Laboratory activities can be found at


The remit of the European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL) and of the National Reference Laboratories (NRL) is laid out in Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of 29 April 2004. The remit of the laboratory network relates to microbiological contamination of live bivalve molluscs. Particular emphasis is given to ensuring a standardised system throughout the European Community for the health checks currently required by Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 of 29th April 2004 and for developing new procedures for more effective monitoring and control of viral contamination.

Essentially the EURL is responsible for:

- information and guidance on relevant analytical methods
- working with NRL's on the application of methods (by comparative testing in particular)
- co-ordinating research into new methods
- organising training courses and workshops
- collaborating with third country laboratories
- providing scientific and technical assistance to the European Commission
- helping reference laboratories implement quality assurance systems (such as accreditation)

Essentially NRL's are responsible for:

- co-ordinating activities of the various national laboratories in that Member State
- assisting the Member State competent authority to organise a monitoring system for viral and bacteriological contamination
- organising comparative tests between the various national laboratories in that Member State
- disseminating information provided by the EURL

The Regulation Decision requires that NRL's and the EURL to collaborate with each other in a laboratory network to ensure a standardised system of health checks for bivalve molluscs operates throughout the European Union and to aid the introduction of new health checks for viral contamination. The Commission has developed a protocol to assist in the management of this collaboration (Commission protocol). This web site provides information on the activities of the laboratory network and technical information relevant to its operation.