Riems Island, 04 January 2021. In the course of Brexit, the responsibilities in the United Kingdom with regard to the national reference tasks of animal disease diagnostics also had to be partially reorganised. In this context, Northern Ireland is treated as a Member State of the EU and thus requires the mandatory designation of corresponding national reference laboratories for animal diseases notifiable in the EU. Following a request from Northern Ireland for support, the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health (FLI) has agreed to take over the tasks of a national reference laboratory for bluetongue disease, classical swine fever and African swine fever for Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021. The designation was made in a letter from the Chief Veterinary Officer of Northern Ireland, R. J. Huey, dated 31 December 2020.
According to § 27 of the Animal Health Act, the FLI is the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for more than 70 notifiable animal diseases and notifiable animal diseases. On this legal basis, tasks of a reference laboratory of another EU Member State, a third country or an international organisation can also be performed. The reference laboratories clarify suspected cases, advise the veterinary authorities of the federal states and carry out ring tests or similar measures to ensure the quality of animal disease diagnostics in Germany. As part of these activities, the FLI publishes a collection of official procedures for sampling and testing for notifiable animal diseases and the annual animal health report. All reference laboratories are accredited by the Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH (DAkkS) according to ISO/ IEC 17025.
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