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Reference materials

Certified reference materials are materials with an accurately known property, e.g. the mercury content in a fish muscles or the activity of samples of a specific enzyme under specified conditions.

They are needed for calibration of instruments, establishing traceability of measurement results, method development, method validation and quality control of measurements and laboratories. Present standards for the accreditation of testing and calibration laboratories such as ISO/IEC 17025 stipulate the use of reference materials.

Reference materials must be homogeneous, stable, and representative of the real sample, and the certified values must be accurate. IRMM is developing, producing and distributing crucial reference materials in support to the implementation of EU policies. It develops certified reference materials for measurements in the areas of food and feed, healthcare, energy, advanced materials, environment  and nuclear safe guards.

Read more about the history of reference materials production at the European Commission and IRMM:

From BCR to ERM

See a video about storage and distribution of reference materials[4Kb].

See also the IRMM catalogue of reference materials, the European Reference Materials web site and the frequently asked questions about reference materials.

Requests for development of new GMO reference materials: see services under the reference materials catalogue.

Latest update 4 December, 2013

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