A collaborative study involving four European laboratories was conducted to investigate the diagnostic accuracy of a Salmonella specific PCR-based method, which was evaluated within the European FOOD-PCR project (http://www.pcr.dk). Each laboratory analysed by the PCR a set of independent obtained presumably naturally contaminated samples and compared the results with the microbiological culture method. The PCR-based method comprised a preenrichment step in buffered peptone water followed by a thermal cell lysis using a closed tube resin-based method. Artificially contaminated minced beef and whole broiler carcass-rinse resulted in a detection limit of less than 5 cells per 25 g meat or 100 ml broiler rinse. A total of 435 samples from four countries, including pig carcass swabs (n = 285), whole broiler carcass-rinse (n = 25), various raw meat (n = 33), and environmental samples (n = 92) were investigated. The interlaboratory diagnostic accuracy, i.e. diagnostic specificity and sensitivity, was shown to be 97.5%. The co-amplification of an internal amplification control indicated possible inhibitory substances derived from the sample. This work can contribute to the quality assurance of PCR-based diagnostic methods and is currently proposed as international standard document.