There is free trade of food within the EU, so every Member State wants to be able to rely on the quality and safety of products from other Member States. No harmful substances or microbiological dangers must be present, hygiene standards must be complied with, and there are also demands on the (economic) quality of food. All these parameters are checked, usually through random tests, in the production country.
Wageningen Food Safety Research is National Reference Laboratory for research into the water content in poultry meat. The EU has set a trade limit for the water content in poultry, to protect the consumer and honest producers from poultry in which too much water has been added.
The NRL is responsible for ensuring the correct implementation of the methods by the RFLs, as well as investigating whether the RFLs report the right analysis results within very narrow limits.
Long term trends
Wageningen Food Safety Research also records information about long term trends in the water/protein ratio, relating to both Dutch samples and samples from non-EU countries which arrive in Dutch ports, and carries out research to see whether the current rules are sufficient to be able to trace improper enhancement of meat with water.