"Serbian Food Safety General Staff" opens after 20 years and 20 million euros invested
Everything can now be tested in the labs
The National Laboratory for Food Control and a phytolab with the plant gene bank has finally received accreditation after 20 years, and is now open for business.
Minister of Agriculture Branislav Nedimovic and Head of the EC Delegation to Serbia Sem Fabrizi visited these institutions, which are part of Directorate of National Reference Laboratory located in Batajnica.
After receiving official accreditation from the competent certification body, the authorities in Serbia yesterday confirmed that quality and safety of the food we eat will finally be known, without the process depending on tests done in private laboratories.
"After 20 years and about 20 million euros invested, this accreditation has also produced the 'Serbian General Staff for Food Safety'. This establishes a food entry control system in Serbia and meets export standards. It was important to, after two decades, finalize this and to no longer have the issue of the laboratories raised, but to simply have them working. Now we're going for a system of supervision of all private laboratories, through a system of risk analysis," said Minister Nedimovic.
As he explained, after the labs' accreditation, samples testing for mycotoxins, pesticides, heavy metals, veterinary medicines and other substances will no longer have to be sent abroad.
"Some will certainly be angry with us for opening this, but I think that the citizens of Serbia will be more satisfied because at any moment they will know what they're eating. This will be determined in an independent way by the state. As a side note, Serbia has earmarked 8 million euros for equipping the laboratory while the EU has donated 7.5 million. The rest were expenses. Now the state has provided money for the laboratory to continue functioning normally," Nedimovic explained.
Everything can now be tested in the labs - from meat, milk, fruit and vegetables to seeds. In addition, Minister Nedimovic explained, Serbia now has an accredited method for controlling raspberries for the presence of norovirus, which is a common problem faced by our raspberry exporters.
For this reason, European institutions have suggested that products from Serbia be exempted from controlling for the presence of this virus.