European legislation and consumers awareness
Informing consumers about the allergen content of prepacked and non-prepacked food has been mandatory and properly defined for years (Regulation EU No 1169/2011 combining directives 2000/13/EC and 90/496/EEC). A proper labelling allows allergic people to choose safe products, and inform conscious consumers that want to avoid certain ingredients. Still, the risk of accidental contaminations leads a number of food producers and distributors to use that "preventive" labelling that enlists a number of possible allergens those traces could be eventually present inside the product. As a result, sensitive people simply avoid such products, limiting his freedom of choice and reducing the potential market of producers.
A proper screening of ingredients and final products should lead to an improved awareness of contamination sources and cleaning efficiency, and should allow producers to avoid preventive labeling.
Available products for the analysis of allergens
Eurofins Technologies offers a full range of food allergen ELISA test kits which reliably detect the presence of potential allergens caused by cross-contaminations. The kits provide accurate results and are available for all key allergens. The offer includes 3 different ELISA test kits for the gluten analysis based on R5 Codex Alimentarius recommended antibody:
- A sensitive kit, with 1.5 ppm gluten LOD
- A fast kit (results in 60 minutes)
- A kit for the detection of hydrolyzed gluten
Lateral flow devices are also available for fast field / surface tests. Results are available in less then 15 min, the kits are extremely easy to use without lab equipment and no trained staff is needed.
Between ELISA and lateral flow devices
What about the quality per price ratio of allergens screening? While ELISA test kits provide reliable quantitative results, lateral flow devices are basically qualitative only. On the other hand, the price per sample when analysed by a traditional ELISA could be an issue, due to the fact that the assay is supposed to be run in duplicate and the calibrators must be run as well. What does this mean?
In a medium company the average sample volume could be 3 at a time. With a common ELISA kit, 5 standards have to be run; since the assay is in duplicate 16 wells are spent for 3 samples only. A 96 wells kits could therefore be used for 6 times: the price of the whole kit has to be divided among 18 samples.
Tecna is proud to offer a unique line of master-curve calibrated ELISA kits, that provide reliable, quantitative results with no need to run double replicates and no need to run any calibration. Thanks to ELISA robustness, Tecna scientists succeeded in stabilyzing the performances indeed! This new format allows an analyst dealing 3 samples per time to spend 4 wells only per session, that is -75% in respect to a common ELISA! A 96 wells kits could be used 24 times to analyse up to 72 samples!
B MAX is a unique offer of cost-effective ELISA test kits that allow food plants to implement their own quality control in house, without demanding the analysis to third parties laboratories, with a platform of assays that give results as reliable as those of external specialists - but in a shorter time and with a lower expence!