Allergen Testing in Food
During the last couple of years, food allergies have spread increasingly: according to estimates, allergic symptoms after consumption of food have been observed in approximately 4-6 % children and 2-4 % adults. This can severely reduce the quality of life or even be life threatening (anaphylactic shock). Next to food allergies, there are further food intolerances like lactose intolerance or celiac disease (gluten intolerance). The latter is the most common genetic disease in Europe with a frequency of 0.3 up to 0.5 %.
People suffering from allergies have to completely avoid the allergy causing substance. This can only be achieved by providing the consumer with detailed information on contaminations, contents and additives of food.
The previous allergen labelling according to German food labeling regulation (LMKV) lists 14 allergy and intolerance causing foodstuffs and their produces. From December 2014 on, the allergen labelling for the European region was rearranged by the regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 dated November 22nd 2011. The 14 foodstuffs have to be highlighted, e.g. by font or color and also have to be declared in non-pre-packed foods. Contaminations of products with allergenic substances via cross-contamination are not covered by the appropriate regulation, but should be considered within the general product liability.
The proof of allergens in food is mostly effected by ELISA-based test systems, which detect proteins in food. Additionally, there are a number of PCR methods for DNA detection from the allergen food.
Eurofins is the first laboratory to offer an additional test to analyse seven allergens at the same time via LC-MS/MS method.
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