Global Foodborne Infections Network (GFN)

External Quality Control System (EQAS)

Description of EQAS methods

The National Food Institute, Denmark, a WHO Collaborating Centre and one of the coordinating agencies of the Global Foodborne Infections Network, is responsible for conducting the Network's External Quality Assurance System (EQAS) for Salmonella and Shigella serogrouping, serotyping and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Additionally, the programme includes identification and MIC determination of Campylobacter and identification of an unknown human pathogen. This programme is developed specifically for national reference laboratories in veterinary, food or human health sectors participating in the Global Foodborne Infections Network.

Depending on the extension of participation in EQAS, laboratories receive by mail eight anonymous strains of Salmonella and Shigella, four Campylobacter isolates and one unknown isolates for identicication annually. The strains should be tested by the methods routinely used in the laboratory and the results are then submitted to the WHO Collaborating Centre via a password-protected website – alternatively by regular mail.

EQAS results

Each laboratory participating in the EQAS receives an individual report of its results. Full anonymity is assured. The identity of individual laboratories is not revealed to other Global Foodborne Infections Network laboratories, or to third parties. When the results of each cycle of the EQAS have been evaluated, a final summary report is prepared and distributed to all Global Foodborne Infections Network laboratories as well as made available online on this webpage below.

Results from previous years

Eligibility to participate

The Global Foodborne Infections Network's EQAS is open to all national reference laboratories that are members of GFN. To sign up as GFN member, please visit the membership page.

  • isolation, identification and serotyping of Salmonella and
  • antimicrobial susceptibility testing of Salmonella.

Fees

Participation in the EQAS is free of charge for laboratories participating in the Global Foodborne Infections Network. However, if your country claims taxes or customs fees this will be on the participating laboratory's expenses.

How to participate

Participants who wish to sign up to the GFN EQAS do so through a web-based database. The sign-up for the GFN EQAS 2012 is now open. Please visit the following link to sign up: Sign-up for EQAS 2012.

If you are a national reference laboratory and wish to take part in the EQAS but are not part of the GFN, you must first join the GFN. Please visit our Membership webpage first. Then, to participate in the EQAS you may send your request in either of the following ways:

  • E-mail the EQAS coordinator at the National Food Institute or
  • Fax your request to the >National Food Institute (DTU Food), Fax +45 35 88 63 41 attn. Global Foodborne Infections Network.

Your message should contain the following information: "Yes, we would like to participate in the GFN"

  • Laboratory Name
  • Contact Person's Name
  • Mailing Address for shipping isolates
  • Telephone
  • Fax
  • E-mail

Laboratory protocols

Key publications

Information brochure on Global Foodborne Infections Network