July 2014

First peanut standard linked to clinical tests to improve allergen analysis

LGC today announced that it can offer the analytical community the first peanut allergen quality control (QC) materials that have been prepared in the same way as oral food challenge materials used to diagnose peanut allergies.
Quality of life for people living with allergies is poor. Although the risk of death by anaphylaxis is low there is constant fear, especially on behalf of children, while coping with shopping, meals out, and school, is a burden for parents/carers of children with allergies.
There are problems for businesses too, with allergen recalls costing UK industry millions.
Previously, flawed allergen analysis hindered the measurement of allergens; measurement which is important for food labelling, defining threshold levels and detecting food fraud.
Reference materials are key to improving the reliability of results of allergen analysis. However, the practical difficulties with their production have often been overlooked.
LGC’s new QC reference materials, developed in conjunction with The University of Manchester,  can now address difficulties such as ensuring sufficient homogeneity and long term stability, assessing the amount of allergen present (the incurred quantity), and maintaining a relationship with the concentrations that affect allergy sufferers.
Gill Holcombe, Head of Reference Materials Production at LGC said, “Our emphasis is on ‘Science for a safer world’ and our new allergen quality controls provide valuable progress in helping to ensure safer food for people with peanut allergy”.
A prototype quality control set, containing a blank material and a material with peanut protein added at the 10 ppm (mg kg-1) level has been prepared, based on the EuroPrevall study chocolate dessert matrix which was used for low-dose threshold studies in food allergic individuals.
LGC’s QC materials have proven homogeneity and stability, underpinned by a validation study of the test method.  They address the lack of allergen related incurred reference materials to improve global allergen protein measurement. Sound measurement is important for risk assessment and risk management of allergens. This QC material complements other LGC activity helping those with allergies as well as those preparing safer food for better business.
For further information and to obtain the QC materials visit www.lgcstandards.com.