SCIEX, a global leader in life science analytical technologies, today announced the introduction of the world's first commercially available and verified mass spectrometry-based method for detecting and measuring allergens in baked food products. Verified in a multi-lab collaborative study to meet food industry requirements, the new SCIEX Allergen iMethod Application is designed for food testing laboratories to determine the presence of egg and milk allergens in baked goods.
The rising prevalence of food allergies across the world has increased the need to improve screening for allergens. For example, approximately six percent of children and nearly four percent of adults currently have food allergies in the United States. Upon consumption of contaminated food, the allergens enter the bloodstream, eliciting the body's immune response, which can cause a variety of reactions, ranging from mild rash and nausea to anaphylaxis or severe allergic reactions.
To protect the health of consumers, public officials and leading scientists around the world acknowledge the need for improved testing to detect and quantify these potentially harmful allergens in various food products. New regulations in different countries are expected in the near future to set action levels, which are the determined amount of allergens considered unacceptable in food products, initiating action by public health officials and food companies. Accurate measurement of these levels is critical.
"Mass spectrometry is a perfect technology to help us prepare for the widely anticipated introduction of action levels for common allergens in Europe," said Bert Pöpping, Director, Scientific Development in the Eurofins Group. "High sensitivity with high accuracy will help Eurofins be ready for an increase in the number of tests we expect to do in the near future. By investing in allergen analysis - a field that is continuously gaining importance SCIEX is helping to push this forward."
Prior to the availability of this Allergen iMethod, food testing labs were limited by other technologies and methodologies, including Real-time PCR as well as commonly used ELISA assays, which are plagued with frequent false-positive or false-negative results while also failing to deliver truly quantitative results. As an advancement over these other approaches, LC/MS/MS not only directly detects the allergenic proteins from multiple types of allergens simultaneously but also provides highly reliable and specific quantitation.
The new allergen test method is the latest addition to SCIEX's broad portfolio of iMethod Applications designed to simplify the adoption and lower the cost of next-generation LC/MS/MS for food analysis. SCIEX is the global leader in LC/MS/MS integrated workflow solutions, including mass spectrometers, software, reagents and methods. Food testing scientists at government agencies, large food companies and contract testing organizations look to SCIEX for laboratory tools and scientific expertise on food contaminant testing.
"SCIEX continues to invest in the development of new technologies and first-of-its-kind mass spectrometry methods to address food safety issues," said Joe Anacleto, Vice President of Applied Markets and Clinical Research, SCIEX. "Allergens are an issue that clearly needs a new approach in the industry, so we have made it easy for food testing labs to standardize on a verified method and obtain the most accurate results possible. We will also rapidly add new methods for other types of allergens to our portfolio of iMethod applications as we continue to work closely and collaboratively with the food testing community on emerging trends."