Archive: March 2014

Food Allergens – what’s acceptable?

Allergen Label cropped

Management of food allergens continues to be a significant challenge for the food industry, not only because it is one of the main causes of product recalls. In December there will also be important legislative changes to allergen labelling of pre-packed foods as well as to the supply of information for consumers with non-prepacked foods. These changes are being introduced across Europe and in the UK will be enforced under the new Food Information Regulations. The Food Standards Agency will be bringing out guidance on the regulations before the summer. Additionally, a new best practice guideline on Allergen Management has just been published by BRC to assist compliance with the current food safety standard. The guidance has five themes: significance, suppliers, separation, scheduling and sanitation. Recently, BRC reported its top 10 corrected Non-Conformities from a sample of 6,500 audit reports from 2012. Non-Conformance against the fundamental requirement of Housekeeping and hygiene (Clause 4.11) was ranked 4th in the sample. The requirement is designed to ensure that appropriate standards of hygiene are maintained at all times and the risk of product contamination is minimised. Ensuring acceptable levels of cleaning performance within Allergen Management (Clause 5.2.8) can be assisted through use of the Allergen FlowThrough™ swabbing kits, which detect as little as 0.5µg/mL gluten and 0.3µg/mL casein in a swab solution. These tests help assess the effectiveness of cleaning and provide evidence of routine verification by indicating that allergens have been reduced to an acceptable level.


Posted in Allergens, Gluten

Product Updates

B-C FlowThrough 2Contamination Thresholds: This month discussion has continued on proposed contamination thresholds of 0.1% and 1% (w/w) for undeclared meats. At the recent FSA Board meeting it was reported that the Analytical Methods Working Group together with other key stakeholders are working on the final report to address the issues, which will include the enforcement approach and information to consumers. The Raw Meat FlowThrough™ tests (cow, horse, pig, poultry, sheep) will detect undeclared meats in the range 0.25% to 1% and will help companies take immediate corrective actions.


vicam_fumo_v modifiedWhere are the Mycotoxins?: After the mild, wet winter in the UK growth of winter cereals is under way. Although some plant disease has been reported it is too early to predict how the growing season will unfold. Meanwhile RASSF alerts for mycotoxin hazards (aflatoxins, ochratoxins, fumonisins) in foods during March have covered pistachios, figs, black pepper, paprika, maize and garlic powder.  Screening these types of commodities for the relevant mycotoxins is possible with a range of analytical techniques (e.g. rapid LFDs, ELISA and fluorometric techniques). Proving popular in Vicam’s range is the Vertu™Lateral Flow Reader  which provides quick and easy to use quantitative results with three test kits: Afla-V, DON-V, Fumo-V. Also there are the Myco6in1+™ columns for the simultaneous detection by LC/MS/MS of eight of the world’s most strictly regulated mycotoxins.

Posted in Mycotoxins, Speciation