• Status of veterinary laboratory diagnosticians in the country

    In France veterinary biology acts are considered as veterinarian acts by the National Board of the Veterinarians*. As a consequence, they can only be realized or supervised by veterinarians.

    There is no specific veterinarian diploma for Veterinary Biology, although veterinarians practicing in laboratories frequently carry out additional training in biology in high education establishments.

    Veterinary laboratory diagnosticians can either work in public or private structures. Public laboratories are approved by the Ministry of Agriculture for official analysis. Veterinary laboratories are accredited by the French Accreditation Committee (Comité Français d'Accréditation or COFRAC : https://www.cofrac.fr/) following the ISO/CEI 17025 standard. Veterinarians also work in numerous research laboratories (Anses, Cirad, IRD, INRAE, national veterinary schools, Pasteur institute etc.).

    Laboratory tests are carried out in different types of laboratories, depending on whether there is an official framework or for diagnosis, at the service of the production sectors. Diagnosis and surveillance actors are grouped in multi-partner organizations such as the French animal health network (https://www.reseau-francais-sante-animale.net/) or the animal health epidemiological surveillance platform (https://www.plateforme-esa.fr/).

    In public laboratories

    France has 70 departmental laboratories employing more than 4,000 people. Their missions are carried out throughout the food chain, from "farm to fork", but also in the field of the environment and other more specialized according to local contexts (human health, radiobiology, oenology, etc.) The departmental veterinary laboratories were created at the beginning of the 1950’s to perform firstly the official controls ordered by the Goverment. They are now located under the authority of the departmental councils, at the service of local authorities public policies, official control for State services, and professionals. They are involved in both surveillance and diagnosis activities. Their expertise is quickly mobilized during sanitary crises. 

    Their independence, their distribution on the whole territory and technical skills are guarantees of reactivity and expertise regarding sanitary safety. The ADILVA is the French association of veterinary public analysis laboratory managers (see article of Dr. Philippe Nicollet published in the Bull. Acad. Vét. France, 2017, 170(4), 196-203 : ENVIRONMENT AND VETERINARY PUBLIC HEALTH: THE MISSIONS OF THE DEPARTMENTAL LABORATORIES).

    In private laboratories

    Numerous private veterinary laboratories operate in the field of animal production, companion animals and food safety. Some of these laboratories are COFRAC accredited and are involved in the diagnosis and monitoring of animal diseases, but also the hygiene of farms.

    Different private laboratory organizations exist:

    •          Syndicat des laboratoires de biologie vétérinaire SLBV
    •          Association Française des laboratoires d’analyses de biologie vétérinaire AFLABV 

    *National Board of the Veterinarians (or Conseil National de l’Ordre des Vétérinaires, or CNOV ; https://www.veterinaire.fr/ ): to practice, veterinarians have to be registered among this National Board. It is the guarantor of professional competencies and ethics.
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