New international guidelines on allergy testing.


Several years of negotiation by regulatory agencies representing Canada, USA, Australia, Japan, the European Union, academic research institutions, and food allergen test-kit manufacturers has resulted in agreement on a common basis for accepting validated testing methods.
Food allergic consumers should  benefit from an increased level of protection by the availability of harmonised and reliable testing methods while international trade will be facilitated by applying mutually-agreed testing protocols.

The new guide is important because consumers depend on accurate food labeling to be able to avoid allergic reactions. But accurate labelling is only possible if there are internationally-agreed standards and  validated testing methods available.

ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) testing methods to detect food allergens is fairly well established. However, the new guidance document addresses for the first time the validation of ELISA testing methods for food allergen analysis in a harmonised way.

Food allergens are proteins, which are large and complex molecules. Scientists have to target the right mixture of protein markers in food samples to reliably detect the presence of food allergens. The targeted proteins have to meet multiple criteria, such as the efficiency with which they are extracted from the food sample and the ability to withstand food production processes like roasting and extrusion.

Courtesy of Science Daily


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First Published March 2010

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