7th Balkan Congress of Microbiology (Microbiologia Balkanica 2011) and 8th Congress of Microbiologists of Serbia (Mikromed 2011) were held in Belgrade in the period between 25th and 29th October 2011. They were organised by the Serbian Society for Microbiology, Serbian Society for Medical Microbiology, and the Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade. It was funded by the Ministry of Education and Science and Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia The support was also given by the Federation of European Microbiological Societies (FEMS). Director of the Accreditation Body of Serbia, Dejan Krnjaić PhD, opened this world conference of extreme importance given that he is a member of the Scientific Committee of the 8th Congress of Serbian Microbiologists.
The said congresses are traditionally organised and cover various topics from the field of microbiology: bacterial and viral infections, parasitical and fungal infections, food and water microbiology, applied microbiology, veterinary microbiology, genetics of microorganisms, and many other extremely important topics.
Prof. Vera Katić PhD and prof. Miomir Nikšić PhD gave lectures related to animal and plant products and the said lectures were presented at the Round-Table Discussion (held on 27th October) that was dedicated to food-related microbiological criteria. The said lecturers also acted as the Round-Table moderators together with prof. Dejan Krnjaić PhD that provided, on behalf of the Accreditation Body of Serbia (ATS), the present participants with answers related to the application of legislation governing food safety in terms of accreditation requirements and criteria. By giving a presentation on the Law on Food Safety, and on respective regulations (Regulation on General and Specific Food Hygiene Requirements at Any Phase of Production, Process and Marketing, Official Gazette of the RS, No. 72/10), prof. Katić once again explained to her colleagues the criteria laid down by the law, and put special emphasis on the methods and good laboratory practice.
Dejan Krnjaić PhD emphasised during his opening address the importance of accreditation and competence of our laboratories performing tests in the field of food safety. On that occasion, he introduced the present participants to the new developments at the ATS and placed special emphasis on huge success awaiting the ATS in April 2012 when the Multi Agreement with the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA) would be signed and reports and certificates issued by our conformity assessment bodies recognised on the European and world market. Dejan Krnjaić PhD informed the present that the new revision of the Rules for the Participation in Inter-laboratory Comparisons and Proficiency Testing Schemes ATS-PA02 had entered into force on 14th October 2011. The said document is in line with respective EA and ILAC documents especially when it comes to frequency and level of participation in PT schemes. He said that strict observance of the ATS procedures led to the increase in the number of laboratories participating in inter-laboratory comparisons and PT schemes and that laboratories were advised to review their techniques and methods first in order to define their sub-disciplines and respective level and frequency of participation in the said schemes and comparisons. “ATS Working Group is currently drafting the new guideline for laboratories performing microbiological and food safety tests so that accredited laboratories would be given, in a transparent way, a universal guideline defining adequate level of PT activities”, said prof. Krnjaić and emphasised that 35 out of 54 accredited laboratories in the field of food safety has at least one accredited method which is a legal food safety requirement, while 16 laboratories had more than 3 accredited methods, and only 2 laboratories had all five required methods when compared with 10 laboratories that had all methods accredited in the field of hygiene criteria.
Moderators’ lectures were followed by an interesting discussion that will, as we hope, help microbiologists working in laboratories upgrade their work methods and to consistently apply legislation governing food safety.