The ASEAN Food Testing Laboratory (AFRL) for Heavy Metals and Trace Elements has been established in 2004 by Expert consultation on Strategies for Strengthening Food Testing in ASEAN in the framework of the Food Sub-Programme of the EC-ASEAN Economic Cooperation Programme on Standards, Quality and Conformity Assessment. Seventeen (17) laboratories pertaining to nine countries of the ASEAN were represented, namely: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The AFRL for Heavy Metals and Trace Elements is hosted by Bureau of Quality and Safety of Food, Department of Medical Sciences, Ministry of Public Health located in Nonthaburi, Thailand.
The ASEAN Food Testing Laboratory Committee (AFTLC) was initiated in 2010 under the ASEAN Consultative Committee on Standards and Quality – Prepared Foodstuff Product Working Group (ACCSQ-PFPWG). The aim is to monitor and coordinate the food testing activities in ASEAN and to strengthen food testing laboratories in order to ensure food safety and to facilitate trade among ASEAN Member States (AMSs).
Key activities of the AFRLs
The key activities that the AFRLs shall perform in the specific areas in order to serve food testing laboratories in AMSs are elaborated as follows:
- Proficiency testing provider (PTP);
- Provision of training in relevant areas of expertise;
- Selection of test methods;
- Coordinating and networking of NFRLs; and
- Resource of information.
1. Proficiency testing provider (PTP)
Proficiency testing (PT) is an evaluation of the performance of laboratories for specific tests or measurements and monitoring laboratories’ continuing performance, by comparing analytical results between participating laboratories. Regular participation of the PT scheme is as a tool to reveal additional confidence in laboratory performance not only for laboratories but also their customers.
The ASEAN Food Reference Laboratory (AFRL) for Heavy Metals and Trace Elements is part of the Bureau of Quality and Safety of Food (BQSF), the Department of Medical Sciences (DMSc), Ministry of Public Health, Thailand. In order to assist in the development of ASEAN member countries’ capacities, the AFRL for Heavy Metals and Trace Elements has organised the PT schemes, financed by Thai Government budget, for testing laboratories in AMSs since 2005 until present (List of PT programmes organized by AFRL for HMTE, as of 27 Dec 2019).
Current PT scheme
The proposed time schedule for the various phases of the PT scheme BQSF ME 04-64 is as follows:
Phase Time schedule
Deadline for registration 29 January 2021
Distribution of test items 16 February 2021
Deadline for submission of results 30 April 2021
Issue of the final report 30 June 2021
2. Provision of trainings/workshops
3. Selection of test methods
4. Coordinating and networking of NFRLs
5. Resource of information.
5.1 Information for Certified Reference Materials (CRMs) and Reference Materials (RMs)
Please see List of CRMs and RMs (as of Dec 2019).
5.2 Information for PT schemes of heavy metals and trace elements in food and water
Please see List of PT schemes (as of January 2020)
|Ms. Pusaya Sangvirun||Head of Toxic Substance, Contaminant and Dioxin Sectionfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Dr. Sirichai Sunya||Medical Scientist, Professional Levelemail@example.com|
Toxic Substance, Contaminant and Dioxin Section
Bureau of Quality and Safety of Food (BQSF)
Department of Medical Sciences, Ministry of Public Health
88/7 Tiwanon Rd. Amphoe Muang, Nonthaburi 11000 Thailand