Archive: February 2014

New Meat Species tests

B-C FlowThrough 2The food industry now recognises the emerging issue of food crime. There have been recent suspected cases concerning meat in China, France and South Africa.  It is important to be vigilant and detect undeclared meat species in raw meat products. Bio-Check (UK) has just launched its new FlowThrough™ range to make testing raw meats much easier. The new tests detect cow, horse, pig, poultry and sheep species below the 1% action limit. This is enabling meat processors to distinguish adventitious contamination from adulteration in only 12 minutes.  All the components for performing the tests are included in the single test packs.  Colour coding is used to differentiate one species specific test from another. The integrated Control not only verifies the functionality of the test but also that reagents have been used correctly making the tests suitable for use by non-technical staff.  The tests are easy to read and validated using Reference Materials. These unique tests improve manufacturers’ traceability thus underpinning the robustness of their quality systems and evidence-base for third party accreditation. Bio-Check believes the tests support a key recommendation of the Food Standards Agency Incident Report to improve intelligence through analytical capability.

Posted in Speciation

Gluten contamination

B-C Gluten-Check ELISABuckwheat is grown in Russia, China and North America and can be contaminated with grains, such as barley, unless rigorously controlled. As buckwheat is not related to wheat it can be used as an ingredient in gluten-free products because it does not contain gluten. It is used in a similar manner to wheat to create flour that is used in bread and pasta for consumers wishing to avoid gluten. It can be difficult to analyse to ensure levels are <20ppm gluten using ELISA based test kits. A recent Canadian publication reports a comparison of gluten recovery in gluten-incurred buckwheat flour using different commercial kits. Reference materials of buckwheat containing 0, 20, 100 and 1000 ppm gluten were created and tested by five ELISA test kits. The kits included two based on the R5 Mendez ELISA, which is the specified method for gluten analysis by Codex Alimentarius. It also included the Gluten-Check™ ELISA kit produced by Bio-Check (UK). The authors’ findings were that the Gluten-Check™ kit was the only kit to detect gluten accurately at all levels. It had the best recoveries in terms of accuracy and dispersion, a finding consistent with an earlier report.

Posted in Allergens, Gluten

Contamination Thresholds

ELISA 090413_032Many food companies have been assessing the initial recommendations of the Government’s independent review following the horsemeat crisis. The interim report by Professor Elliott, examining the integrity and assurance of food supply networks, proposes a zero tolerance to food fraud. The Food Standards Agency has also discussed setting a threshold for contamination of processed meats to help consumers choose food with confidence. During the horsemeat crisis as an interim measure a 1% action limit was set. Under consideration is a proposal that where official control samples find a content of undeclared meat species of between the equivalent of 0.1% and 1.0% (w/w) the causes should be investigated and corrective action taken by the producer. Analytically, the methods that laboratories have employed have been PCR and ELISA based techniques. Bio-Check (UK) has many years experience in this area, offers test kits based on both. We believe that these approaches, when properly validated, have the potential to fulfil such requirements. Whilst reported limits of detection for our PCR methods are 0.1% and <1% (w/w) for ELISA, work in our laboratory analysing raw meat samples has achieved detection equivalent to 0.1% (w/w) with ELISA based procedures as well.

Posted in Speciation