The Food Analysis Performance Assessment Scheme (FAPAS) organized by a Secretariat of the UK Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food has checked the proficiency of analytical laboratories for foods and feeds from 1990 to 1996. FAPAS was started for UK laboratories but was expanded worldwide at the request of analysts in other countries who did not have a home-based scheme. Thirteen thousand homogeneity-checked test materials were issued, covering a very wide range of analytes, including pesticides, toxins, veterinary drug residues, trace and nutritional elements, food colors, preservatives, sweeteners, alcohol congeners, fatty acids, nitrate, and proximate analysis. Participants returned 85% of requested data, and 47,000 z-score proficiency assessments were made, of which 81% were satisfactory. Evidence is presented of improvements in overall analytical ability with increased participation in proficiency testing in the areas of proximate analysis; organochlorine pesticide analysis; and lead, mercury, and acesulfame-K analyses. Little improvement was shown in other analytical areas such as calcium analysis. Overall accuracies for analysis of specific pesticides and specific trace elements in the circulated test materials were compared.