ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) is the gold standard method for food allergen detection and is used alongside other laboratory techniques such as liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and molecular biology techniques (e.g. polymerase chain reaction – PCR). The attributes of the ELISA technique of high throughput analysis at relatively low cost lends it suitable for routine use in commercial and public laboratories.

ELISA will detect proteins which for food allergen management are both the hazard and the measured quantity of clinical significance. Whilst detection of allergen proteins is sufficient for many purposes e.g. to support labelling claims and ensure the integrity of the supply chain, quantitative measurements are generally needed for the underlying risk assessments (e.g. to assess the effectiveness of allergen controls and to support precautionary allergen labelling). Presently, there are no laboratory techniques that provide quantitation of food allergens, due to inherent limitations of the measurement (e.g. limited availability of reference materials for traceability), thus results are semi-quantitative by nature.

The ELISA technique is versatile and Bio-Check ELISAs can be performed manually or automated and qualitatively or (semi) quantitatively.

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