EMPIR project improving chemical measurements to meet new regulations

Food quality control

The project

Completed European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR) project Development of scientific and technical capabilities in the field of chemical analysis (16RPT01, ChemMet-Cap) has improved chemical metrology capabilities and traceability for emerging National Metrology Institutes (NMIs) and Designated Institutes (DIs). The overall aim of the project was to improve the measurement capabilities of NMIs and DIs developing new capacities in the field of metrology in chemistry.

Detecting trace amounts of chemicals within larger samples has many important applications, including food standards, air quality, waste monitoring, and soil analysis. The increasing importance of metrology for chemistry is escalating the need for further development and calibration infrastructure.  Many emerging NMIs and DIs struggle to provide the level of uncertainty required by increasingly demanding food safety standards and environmental legislation.


Capacity Building

EMPIR Capacity Building projects aim to support the participating organisations to develop their metrological research expertise, and are one of EURAMET’s tools to establish a harmonised European metrology landscape that is coherent, efficient and sustainable.

Project outcomes

Specific outcomes that result from the training received in this project include:

  • BIM (Bulgaria) and BRML (Romania) had never performed ID-ICPMS (isotope dilution - inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry) measurements before the project. At the end of the project, using ID-ICPMS techniques they were able to provide reference values for the elements in a tuna fish sample that was used for the PT SCHEMA 62 08, a proficiency testing organised by IAPR (International Association for Pattern Recognition). The provision of independent reference values is a way to evaluate the method performances of the participating laboratories and therefore to ensure the quality of the measurement results.
  • INRAP (Tunisia) is now preparing for accreditation according to ISO 17034:2016 having  developed capabilities for the production of calibration reference solutions for mercury.
  • A secondary cell based on a potentiometric method, was incorporated into a calibration system at BIM. BIM now uses this secondary calibration cell (calibrated against the primary system) for pH to assess the stability of their certified reference materials.
  • With support from the project, four NMIs /DIs (BIM, BRLM, IAPR, INRAP) prepared roadmaps and defined their long-term strategies for the implementation of national metrological infrastructure as well as strategies for international collaboration particularly with the neighbourhood countries (such as Bulgaria, Romania, and France).

Project coordinator Paola Fisicaro from LNE said

New NMIs/DIs are now able to perform ID-ICPMS measurements, which is a great improvement of the capabilities in metrology in chemistry. This will allow the setup of national traceability schemes and the improvement of the quality of chemical measurements for environmental monitoring and food safety’.

This EMPIR project is co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the EMPIR Participating States.

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