Manufacturers must wait for allergen threshold

By Frederick Dawson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Elisa

Manufacturers are no nearer to finding out when if ever a maximum in-plant threshold for the adventitious presence of allergens such as milk, peanuts and egg will be published by regulators.

A spokeswoman for the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said that an earlier timescale of four-to-five years, reported at the beginning of this year, remained unchanged, despite a recent flurry of advances in allergen testing using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test kits and other analytical techniques.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has highlighted why allergen testing had proven such a tricky field for development. For lactose intolerance, EFSA's NDA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies, concluded: "A single threshold of lactose for all lactose-intolerant subjects cannot be determined owing to the great variation in individual tolerances."

Others are more optimistic: Michael Walker, spokesman for LGC the National Measurement Institute for Chemistry & Biology said: "Hopefully in the next 18 months, we should see much closer standardisation of ELISA results."

However, progress with other tests, such as mass spectrometry of protein allergens, was moving slower, according to Walker: "progress is being made towards standardisation although this is very much in the early stages".

Related topics Food Safety

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