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Nomination for a National Reference Laboratory – NRL

In recent years, Matís has invested in infrastructure and created a solid foundation for food safety research as well as other food and environment related research. This effort has now made Matís a leading analytical laboratory in Iceland, and our specialists have extensive expertise and knowledge in microbiological and chemical analysis.

Matís’ emphasis on food safety will benefit consumers, industry and authorities. Increased social food safety debate will increase consumers’ awareness of quality and safety, and producers can utilize the open knowledge Matís produces. This will enable industry to market Icelandic products as pure and wholesome as well as gain the opportunity to work with Matís in both developing safer products of higher quality and gaining assistance in marketing these products. This in turn delivers safe quality products to the market for the consumer, and the circle closes.

With increased investment in food safety, Matís has now been nominated as a National Reference Laboratory (NRL) in seven fields in 2015. In 2016 the company will receive nominations for an additional seven fields. This is tremendous quality recognition of Matís’ work in the laboratory. It has to fulfil very strict conditions to qualify as an NRL, such as accreditation, qualified staff, infrastructure, etc. The NRL nominations will increase our capacity even more as the NRLs are linked to a European network of other NRLs and the European Reference Laboratory (EURL), all working to ensure and enhance food safety nationally and internationally. According to Iceland’s food legislation, the government is obliged to nominate an NRL laboratory for 21 fields in food safety and 17 fields in animal welfare. The 2015 NRL Matís nominations are in the field of analysing zoonoses, viral and bacteriological contamination in bivalve molluscs, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli (VTEC), pesticide residues in food and feed, as well as heavy metals in food and feed.

Technical infrastructure is important in a growing and innovative R&D company like Matís. However, infrastructure in the form of employees should not be forgotten. Within our company, there is a strong group of young, prominent researchers and scientists. In recent years Matís has encouraged young researchers to step forward by increasing their responsibilities, knowledge and expertise. The newly formed “solution group” is a good example of this, where a group of young scientists is working together as a “think-tank” to solve challenges in research projects, product development and product line optimization, often with outside-the-box approaches. Nourishing young researchers and scientists is extremely important in moving Matís to the next level, ensuring its leading role in research and development, not only in Iceland but also abroad.