Welcome to the NMS chemical and biological metrology website. Please log in
to view restricted content.
Project BA7 - Traceable Methodologies for Food Allergens
Food allergens represent an increasingly important health problem across Europe. The severity of reactions covers a range from mild to life threatening, including anaphylactic shock. It is estimated that up to 8% of children have reproducible adverse reactions to food. In Western Europe and the USA most immunological adverse reactions are triggered by a limited number of foods. These foods have been identified and have been the subject of many double-blind placebo control food challenges, such as the low dose challenge used in EuroPrevall, to help establish threshold values at which an adverse response is unlikely.
The concern over the prevalence of food allergens has resulted in strictly enforced legislation, UK Food labelling regulations 1996 (amended 2004) & European directive 2003/89/EC, which requires all pre-packed foods to declare if they contain any of 14 priority allergens. This has led to the development of test kits (ranging from laboratory based quantitative fluorescent ELISA to qualitative threshold based swabs or dip sticks) which can be used by industry to check for the presence of trace contamination and/or in cleaning plant equipment. With such an importance based on measurements, in the setting of safety response thresholds, enforcing legislation and the development of high throughput screening technologies it is vital that measurements in the area are comparable. One of the aims of an EU Sixth Framework initiative was the establishment of a network of excellence called MoniQA (Monitoring of Quality Assurance in the Food Supply Chain). The food allergen working group of MoniQA highlighted the lack of certified reference materials and the need for an improved validation procedure as major challenges in the search for adequate allergen detection.
The objectives of this project are aligned with the needs of a community already actively searching for traceable materials and CRMs for a set of 14 know foods. The exact measurands are not well defined in all cases but in many a target protein is the basis of testing. Therefore it is likely that CRMs assigned with traceable amounts of specific proteins would improve measurement comparability in the sector.
Aims and objectives
The overall aim of this project will be to develop and deliver traceable measurements for priority food allergens by realising the following objectives:
To interact with current UK and European initiatives on food allergens to identifying the key measurement issues so as to enable comparability of protein based allergen detection methods
To develop protein based traceable reference methods for problematic allergens
- Establish the feasibility of providing a matrix certified reference material for selected food allergens
Last modified on
12 March 2012.