UK national reference laboratory for food microbiology

Guidance and responsibilities of the UK's national reference laboratory (NRL) for food microbiology.

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

  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • coagulase positive staphylococci
  • Escherichia coli (including STEC)
  • campylobacter
  • salmonella
  • antimicrobial resistance

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) awarded PHE these responsibilities for performing official controls to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules, as described in Article 33 of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004.

Expert witness information

Local authorities and port health authorities ask staff in official control laboratories (OCLs) to provide witness of fact statements, advice to prepare material for prosecutions, and requests for suitable expert witnesses. The UK NRL can provide advice and practical support.


National reference laboratory

Food, water and microbiology
PHE Colindale
61 Colindale Avenue,


Reports and audits

  1. National reference laboratory for food microbiology: annual report

    • Research and analysis
  2. Audit of official control laboratories (OCLs): 2013

    • Guidance