Founded in 1941, IZSAM is a public institution belonging to the Italian National Health System.
It provides scientific and technical support on issues of public health, animal health and welfare, food hygiene and food safety to veterinary and public health authorities in Italy and abroad, promoting the “One Health approach”.
IZSAM is one of the ten official veterinary laboratories operating within the network of the Italian Ministry of Health. IZSAM handles laboratory testing activities and surveillance of animal diseases, risk assessment, management of sanitary and non-sanitary alerts, crisis management, contingency planning, both in food safety and animal health and welfare.
IZSAM Headquarters and main laboratories are located in Teramo (Italy), while eight different local units are based in all the provinces of Abruzzo and Molise Regions.
Its staff includes over 400 people: 275 permanent staff and 142 temporary staff, mainly with high qualification (veterinarians, biologists, chemists, biotechnologists, statisticians, mathematicians, IT specialists, trainers etc.). In the last fifteen-years IZSAM has seconded several experts to OIE, DG SANTE, EFSA, and FAO.
In the period 2012 – beginning 2018, IZSAM have managed 227 funded research, technical assistance, cooperation, and training projects for a total budget of about 31 M €. Sixty-four of them are international for a total value of about 16 M €.
At national level, IZSAM is:
- National Reference Centre for Whole Genome Sequencing of microbial pathogens: data-base and bioinformatics analysis; Transboundary Animal Diseases (CESME), Veterinary Epidemiology and Risk Analysis, Brucellosis, Urban Hygiene and Non-Epidemic Emergencies. The National Database for the Animal Identification and Registration System is also based at IZSAM.
- National Reference Laboratory for Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), Capripox viruses (Sheep & Goat Pox and Lumpy Skin Disease), African Horse Sickness (AHS), Listeria monocytogenes, Campylobacter, Dioxins (PCDDs/PCFFs) and Polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs)
At international level, IZSAM is:
- OIE Collaborating Centre for Veterinary Training, Epidemiology, Food Safety and Animal Welfare;
- OIE Reference Laboratory for Brucellosis, Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), Bluetongue, and West Nile Disease;
- FAO Reference Centre for Veterinarian Epidemiology.
Knowledge management and capacity building are considered of paramount importance at IZSAM since 1991, when a Training Unit was established for the first time in a veterinary research institute in Italy. In 2009, IZSAM inaugurated the International Centre for Veterinary Training and Information (CIFIV), a training structure of excellence founded to enable knowledge generation, knowledge sharing, and capacity building. Since 2007, IZSAM has been one of the suppliers accredited by the General Directorate for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) of the European Commission in the framework of the Better Training for Safer Food (BTSF) Programme. Main intervention areas: a) zoonoses and microbiological criteria, b) animal welfare c) veterinary checks at Border Inspection Posts. IZSAM was also the sole provider of eLearning training for the BTSF Initiative, from 2012 to 2018.
Since 2015 IZSAM has been organising training courses on LAS, structured in different theoretical and practical learning modules, according to the indications provided by the EU document “National Competent Authorities for the implementation of Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes” (Brussels, 19-20 February 2014). Until now, 150 researchers have been successfully trained.
IZSAM training activities have been certified and have undergone strict quality controls since 1995. The quality of lab analysis results is ensured by the test validation made by ACCREDIA, in compliance with ISO/IEC 17025 standard. In 2004, even the training department was acknowledged to be compliant with UNI EN ISO 9001 standard. In September 2016, this quality management system migrated to the new edition of the standard, obtaining the certification ISO 9001:2015.