The National Measurement Laboratory (NML), hosted at LGC, has been the Designated Institute for ‘Chemical & Biological Measurement’ within the UK, since 1988. As a national laboratory and PSRE (public sector research establishment) based in a private limited company, we interact across the research, development and innovation ecosystem, bringing together diverse groups of stakeholders.
The work of the NML focuses on providing high quality world-leading science, to solve measurement problems and provide the resilient measurement infrastructure needed to support government, industry and protect consumers within the UK, as well as representing the UK’s measurement interests internationally. We support businesses to innovate more effectively, faster and with less risk - through the application and translation of fit-for-purpose measurement solutions and standards. The NML also supports the role of the 'Government Chemist' (GC), which has a statutory function, which has been enshrined in UK law since 1875, as an independent referee analyst under a number of acts of Parliament focusing on public protection, value for money and consumer choice. In addition, the GC is a source of independent and impartial advice for both Government and the wider analytical community on the chemical and biological analytical measurement science implications on matters of policy, standards and regulations on areas including the quality of food and animal feed, medicines and chemicals.
Under contract to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), we host and operate the UK’s Official Medicines Control Laboratory (OMCL) for chemical testing and British Pharmacopoeia Commission Laboratory. In addition, LGC the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) in the areas of feed additives and GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and, following EU exit, was awarded the contracts for providing scientific assessment and evaluation of methods for the detection of new feed additives and GMOs, as well as those due for renewal, as part of the official authorisation process set in place within GB.
To enable the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) to address the full extent of the regulatory changes following EU Exit, particularly in addressing the capacity and skills challenges, they will need to make most effective use of the expertise that currently exists within the UK system.
We routinely observe first-hand how important it is to have the right stakeholders from across the system engaged, from the beginning, to ensure the most effective and fit-for-purpose solutions to regulatory challenges can be found that both protect the safety of the public and limit the burden on companies.
Measurement will be crucial in supporting the expanded roles of UK regulators, particularly across the areas of chemicals regulation and food and feed safety. Better measurement and standards play a significant role in supporting the implementation of regulation, ensuring it is effective, as well as aiding de-regulation. This creates and allows for opportunity, if performed reliably. The UK’s measurement institutes work extensively with regulators to ensure that new or revised regulations reflect measurement best practice and that their enforcement is supported by appropriate measurement capabilities and standards.
Through the GC advisory function, we also work with government stakeholders to support the resilience of the UK official control system. Examples include:
The establishment of FSA NRL and authorisation roles post EU Exit are prime examples of the importance of measurement in regulating in the UK in a robust but fit for purpose manner.
Measurement is an essential part of the technical standards that support product safety legislation. Based on these standards, industry needs to demonstrate conformity with essential safety requirements and enforcement agencies are required to act on unsafe products. Through our measurement expertise, we are able to provide advice and support to the Office of Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) in BEIS on product safety, particularly for chemical measurement to protect vulnerable consumers, for example in the areas of toy safety, childcare and cosmetics.
A further area of expertise is the Food Authenticity Network (FAN), operated by LGC. FAN is the world’s premier source of food authenticity methods and food fraud mitigation information helping protect the global food. FAN was set-up in 2015 by UK Government in response to recommendation 4 of the Elliott Review and recently featured in the UK Food Security report. FAN allows the UK to demonstrate global leadership based on experience and expertise gained by having a dedicated food authenticity research programme for 40 years. Recognition of our expertise is evidenced by the UK Deputy Government Chemist being selected to be the UK Co-Chair of the Codex Committee on Food Import and Export Certification and Inspection electronic working group on food fraud.
Collaboration across government and with industry is increasingly being recognised as essential – and specifically mentioned in FSA’s new five-year strategy – to ensure that stakeholders with the correct skills and knowledge provide the evidence based for government to make proportionate, fit for purpose policy, standards and regulations. A consistent and proportionate regulatory regime gives confidence to businesses, including those with new and innovative business models, and enables markets through the removal of trade barriers and unnecessary burden on businesses.
We have a long history of working with UK government to provide expert measurement advice and remain committed and willing to assist FSA, CMA and HSE in fulfilling their expanded roles post EU Exit.
NML Response Regulation after EU Exit Page 3 of 3
 Royal Society (2020). A list of public and non-profit research organisations in the UK. https://royalsociety.org/-/media/policy/Publications/2020/2020-09-list-of-public-and-non-profit-research-organisations.pdf
 Government Chemist (2021, Jan 13). Guidance on analytical limits for controlled cannabinoids. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-analytical-limits-for-controlled-cannabinoids
 Walker et al. Cannabinoids – a Tutorial Review. Journal of the Association of Public Analysts (Online) (2021) 49:1-028.
 Government Chemist (2021, Jun 18). CBD and controlled cannabinoids: results from a
ring trial. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cbd-and-controlledcannabinnoids-results-from-a-ring-trial
 Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (2021, Dec 17). ACMD advice on consumer cannabidiol products. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/acmd-advice-on-consumer-cannabidiol-cbd-products