EURL / Dioxins and PCBs

Feed safety platform

European Union Reference Laboratory for Dioxins and PCBs in Feed and Food

Type of the activity: European Union Reference Laboratory



The European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL) for Dioxins and PCBs in Feed and Food is appointed according to Regulation (EC) 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and welfare rules (29 April 2004). EURL Freiburg is hosted by the State Institute for Chemical and Veterinary Analysis of Food (Chemisches und Veterinäruntersuchungs-amt, CVUA) Freiburg, which is one of the offical food control and animal health laboratories in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany.

Dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs) are pollutants unintentionally produced in small quantities during combustion processes. Although production and use of most PCBs are prohibited since 1986, they are still present in many technical applications.
They are ubiquitous and persistent in the environment and tend to bioaccumulate in biological systems. Food of animal origin contributes to about 80 % of the overall human exposure. Besides the acute toxicity of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs, chronic exposure has effects on the immunic, nervous, endocrine and reproductive system and tumore-promoting activity.

Reduction of dioxins, furans and PCBs in the food chain is an important part of ensuring the health and safety of EU consumers. It is based on three pillars: Maximum levels are used for regulatory control, action levels serve as early warning tools and target levels should be achieved over time to bring human exposure below the tolerable weekly intake. From November 2006, EU-regulations 2006/13 and 2006/88 set maximum and target levels for dioxins, and for the sum of dioxins and PCBs, in food and feed matrices.

Project description

Objectives: to facilitate the implementation of European legislation related to monitoring of dioxins and PCBs in food and feed.

Description of the tasks

EURL Freiburg is an internationally renowned expert center with many years of experience in analytical residue analyses of dioxins, furans and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in feed, food and human milk.
Its services are available to National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) within the EU-Member States and other countries exporting foods of animal origin to the EU.

EURL Freiburg is dedicated to

  • providing national reference laboratories (NRLs) with details of analytical methods, including reference methods
  • organising proficiency testing studies between NRLs
  • coordinating practical arrangements needed to apply new analytical methods and to inform NRLs of advances in this field
  • organising training sessions for NRLs
  • performing analyses in case of disagreement between Member States
  • assisting NRLs of third countries
  • providing the Commission with technical and scientific advice
  • providing the Commission with an annual activity report


Project team

Operating manager

Dr. Rainer Malisch, Dr. Johannes Haedrich, Dr. Alexander Kotz
European Union Reference Laboratory for Dioxins and PCBs
State Institute for Chemical and Veterinary analysis of Food
Bissierstrasse 5
D-79114 Freiburg, Germany
Tel.: +49 761 8855 500
Fax: +49 761 8855 100
Email :

Project web site