NordVal was created in 1999 by the Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Food Issues under the Nordic Council of Ministers. The Committee adopted the following objective for NordVal: NordVal evaluates the performance and field of application of alternative microbiological methods. This includes analyses of food, water, feed, animal faeces and food environmental samples in the Nordic countries. NordVal is managed by a steering group, which is appointed by the National Food Administrations in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The background for creation of NordVal was a Danish validation system (DanVal) established in 1995 to cope with a need to validate alternative methods to be used in the Danish Salmonella Action Program. The program attracted considerable attention in the other Nordic countries. NordVal has elaborated a number of documents, which describe the requirements for obtaining a NordVal certificate. Details on the validation procedure can be found on the NordVal pages linked to the NMKL web site (www.nmkl.org). The acceptance of NordVal validated methods by the Nordic Food Administrations is strongly linked to a situation where the reliability of the alternative methods can be proven. Therefore it is a key issue for NordVal to provide this documentation. However in spite of a common Nordic validation system differences exist between the countries regarding the acceptance of NordVal validated and certified methods. These differences are due to traditions, but are also influenced by the slow development in EU legislation in this area. The situation regarding the acceptance of NordVal validated and certified methods in the Nordic countries will be described, including a description of EU legislation in progress and an area of special importance for the acceptance of NordVal validated and certified methods for meat intended for Finland and Sweden. NordVal has at present 25 validated and certified alternative microbiological methods registered. The methods comprise ELISA, PCR and DNA based methods for Salmonella, Listeria and Campylobacter. Alternative culture based methods for pathogens, indicator organisms and hygiene monitoring. A list of the methods can be found on the NordVal page of the NMKL web site (www.nmkl.org). (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.