Food Allergen Detection: A Literature Review 2004 - 2007

M J Walker (a), P Colwell, S Elahi, K Gray and I Lumley
Government Chemist’s Programme, LGC, Queens Road, Teddington, TW11 0LY
(a) to whom correspondence should be addressed,


    This review of the recent literature indicates that ELISA and DNA techniques dominate laboratory testing for allergens. ELISA kits are available for most but not all major allergens but quantification can be problematic. DNA based methods have been criticised because they do not target allergenic proteins and data handling practices remain to be standardises. Published peer reviewed independent validation studies for either technique are lacking for all but a few allergens. Nevertheless, each of these approaches compliments the other in terms of target analyts and both applications have generated substantially more publications than any other techniques. This review has also elicited areas of good practice and common problems that must be addressed when evaluating and validating kits and methods. Liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry is a powerful confirmatory technique successfully and routinely applied to contaminant and residue analysis. With growing databases of allergenic protein amino acid sequences it is possible to envisage bringing this powerful technique to bear on allergen identity confirmation.

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