The first South Caucasus regional conference for food analysis will take place in Tbilisi from 29-30 March. There, 150 experts from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia will convene for short lectures, poster presentations and discussions. Representatives of the European networks Eurolab, Eurachem and the international laboratory concern Merieux Nutriscience are invited to meet talents from the region and to engage in expert discussions. In addition to current international topics, topics which are particularly relevant for the region will be at the foreground: mycotoxins in hazelnuts, the microbiology of Georgian cheese or authenticity tests for honey.
The food testing laboratories in South Caucasus fulfil challenging functions for the state, private industry and consumers. Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan are developing in different societal, industrial and foreign policy directions. In the transformative context of the former Soviet republics, food analysis is gradually shifting from the tradition of Soviet GOST standards to the world of ISO standards. Some of the South Caucasian food testing laboratories are even quality infrastructure pioneers in their countries. In the year 2012, the first laboratories implemented ISO/IEC standard 17025:2005 for testing and calibration laboratories and achieved internationally recognized accreditation by DAkkS, LATAK and ANAB: ANSI-ASQ.
On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), PTB has been supporting the technical development and dialogue between the ten food testing laboratories of the three countries in South Caucasus since 2011. In numerous training sessions and workshops with participants from Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, something was achieved which cannot be considered a matter of course due to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: meetings between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. This new naturalness will be alive at the regional conference.