Archive: March 2015

New Allergen-Check kits for testing wine

Two new Allergen-Check ELISA kits, Ovalbumin-Check and Lysozyme-Check have been launched for detecting protein residues from finings in wine. In addition the validation of the Casein-Check kit has been extended to include both red and white wine. In Europe, Regulation No. 579/2012 applies to wine and wine fining agents derived from egg and milk. In determining whether egg and milk fining agents are still present in wine, they should not be found above a level of 0.25 mg per litre (parts per million, PPM). If egg or milk fining agents are absent or present below this level they are exempt from the allergen labelling requirements in Europe; whereas, they need to be declared if found at 0.25 mg/L (PPM) and above. The O.I.V. (International Organisation of Vine and Wine) has established the following requirements for ELISA method determinations: LOD of 0.25 mg/L (PPM), Lower Limit Of Quantitation of 0.50 mg/L (PPM) and a recovery rate of between 80% and 105%. The performance of the three Allergen-Check wine kits (Casein, Lysozyme and Ovalbumin) have been validated and fulfil the performance criteria of the O.I.V.  Contact us to discuss your wine testing

Posted in Allergens

Investigation into herbs and spices supply chain

As the number of recalls for the presence of undeclared allergens in spices and herbs increases across North America and Europe the root cause of the problem is not yet known. There has also been a RASFF Alert followed by product withdrawals for traces of peanut found in pili pili powder (derived from chilli peppers) from China and distributed to Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands, Slovakia, South Korea, UAE and the UK. One of the suppliers of products in which contamination with almond is alleged has challenged the accuracy of analytical results of the official regulator. The specificity of any test method can be affected by the presence of closely related analytes reacting in a way that it is difficult to distinguish from that of the true response for the target analyte; this leads to so called ‘false positive’ results. Such cross-reactivity and interference studies are normally included in the validation of methods and ideally must use materials of guaranteed purity relevant to the samples being tested. Almond is a member of the Prunus genus of trees and shrubs, which includes apricot, cherry, peach and plum. The aromatic spice mahlab or mahaleb is prepared from dried, ground cherry kernels and could be present in the spice supply chain. Currently, test kit manufacturers are checking the cross-reactivity of their ELISA kits to this and other spices. Preliminary results for the Almond-Check kit indicate that this kit cross-reacts, as expected, to apricot and cherry seed proteins; chilli powder that may or may not have been contaminated through the supply chain reacted at a low level but the assay did not cross-react with cumin or paprika. In similar studies, the Peanut-Check kit did not cross-react with chilli, cumin or paprika, though fenugreek (also a legume) reacted at a low level. Since the samples of spices tested were obtained from industry the purity of supplies cannot be guaranteed. Although false positivity could be an issue, the chilli and fenugreek could be contaminated and the finding of mostly negative results is encouraging. A revised Validation report for these kits will be issued once all findings have been confirmed. Contact us to discuss your spice testing

Posted in Allergens

Horizon Scanning


Some of the information tweeted @BioCheckUK in March:




  • First prosecution as a result of the horsemeat incident
  • The importance of Food Traceability
  • South Africa’s worst drought since 1992 prompts corn imports
  • India plans to target very serious issue of food adulteration
  • Food fraud fines to soar as deterrent to criminals
  • China’s make-or-break year for food safety reform
  • Wine expert explains how to catch the cheats
  • FDA food recalls down in Q4 but the number of affected units rockets by 142%
  • Scope for improvement in food authenticity industry
  • What is the world’s biggest cash crop?
  • Cereal study urges US focus on oats


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Posted in About us