First verified food allergen test by mass spec

WHAT IS said to be the world’s first commercial mass spectrometry method to detect and measure allergens in food has been launched by AB Sciex. The new Allergen iMethod application enables food testing labs to screen for egg and milk allergens in baked products, and has been verified in a multi-lab collaborative study to meet industry requirements.

According to AB Sciex, the new method overcomes some of the shortcomings of alternative allergen testing approaches, including real-time PCR and Elisa assay tests. These, it says, produce frequent false-positive or false-negative results and are also not truly quantitative. The Allergen iMethod is a liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) approach which simultaneously detects allergenic proteins from multiple types of allergens and provides reliable and specific quantitation. It is the latest addition to the company’s portfolio of iMethod applications for next-generation LC/MS/MS in food analysis.

Food allergen testing is on the increase throughout the world, in response to a rising tide of allergies. Allergens in the bloodstream stimulate the body’s immune response, which can lead to reactions from a relatively mild rash to anaphylaxic shock. Regulations for food allergen testing are continuously changing, as more countries first adopt then refine their requirements.

“Mass spectrometry is the perfect technology to prepare for the introduction of action levels for common allergens in Europe,” said Bert Popping, director of scientific development at Eurofins. “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 – AB Sciex is helping to push this forward.”


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