Food, water and environmental laboratories

The UK Health Security Agency's (UKHSA) FW&E laboratories protect the public from significant health threats associated with food, water and environmental hazards.

UKHSA’s food, water and environmental (FW&E) laboratories provide:

  • accredited specialist microbiology tests on food, dairy, water and environmental samples
  • expert advice on the threat to health from pathogens found in food, water and dairy products and how these can be identified and controlled
  • training for staff from organisations such as local authorities and port health authorities
  • results from tests and interpretation, which can be used as evidence for prosecutions in food poisoning and environmental contamination outbreaks
  • results from public health investigations and local and national surveys, which help UKHSA understand how changes (such as effects of new food practices, or new legislation) may affect public health
  • research and development, including developing and applying new techniques to detect emerging and evolving pathogens, and to produce more rapid and more informative test results and analysis

Legionella training resources

UKHSA training videos on environmental sampling and investigation of Legionnaires’ disease are available using the FW&E laboratories YouTube playlist.


The UK’s national reference laboratory (NRL) for food microbiology is responsible for official controls on specific areas of food microbiology.

Published 31 July 2014
Last updated 16 September 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added FW&E laboratories Legionella training videos link.

  2. Added Guidance for organisations on supplying safe water supplies.

  3. Added link to UK national reference laboratory for food microbiology.

  4. First published.