Detection of Allergens from Molluscs in Food
Molluscs, which include mussels, snails and squid, belong to aquatic foodstuffs of animal origin - as well as fish and crustaceans. Beside their multiple positive characteristics, they also show a high allergenic potential.
In Germany, food allergies against molluscs do not occur very often. Due to the fact that molluscs are often used as ingredients in different food like soups, sauces or surimi, the risk of an allergic reaction by sensitive consumers is rising.
The main mulluscan allergen is the muscle protein tropomyosin. This allergen can also be found in crustaceans, dust mites and insects. Thus, cross-reactions with the related tropomyosin allergens in crustacean and molluscs occur often.
In case of an allergic reaction, symptoms like skin redness, itchiness and shortness of breath may occur. In extreme cases, the allergic reaction causes an anaphylactic shock, which is life-threatening. Therefore, molluscs have to be declared as allergen irrespective of their amount in the product (Directive 2006/142/EC - dated 22.12.2006).
For a long time, mainly PCR methods were available for detecting DNA from molluscs. Since 1st November 2015, an accredited ELISA based test for detection and quantification of molluscs in food will be also available at Eurofins.
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