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Elisa Systems addresses allergen test kit issues with newest product

Elisa Systems

Elisa Systems specialises in combating allergen contamination in the food industry as one of the world’s leading developers of food allergen test kits combined with expert technical support and an ability to provide consultancy around application in production facilities. 

Elisa system’s suite of allergen test kits are designed to help the food and beverage manufacturing industry mitigate the risk of cross contamination and the inadvertent presence of allergens in Supplier ingredients.  This therefore helps ensure consumer safety and the burden and brand damage of product recalls.  

One of the latest offerings from Elisa Systems is its Processed Egg Residue detection kit, ESEGGPR-48, which has been developed to provide a straightforward extraction procedure that facilitates high efficiency detection of egg protein in both non-processed and heat-processed foods.  

Senior specialist analyst, Dr Richard Newton, told Food and Beverage Industry News the latest product offering from the company addressed an allergen which is widely used in the food industry and can represent a significant cross contamination risk in many facilities.  

“The biggest cause of recalls over the past 10-15 years in Australia is the result of undeclared allergens,” said Newton.  

“With this new kit we wanted to address some of the biggest issues with regard to detection of egg in highly processed foods, namely poor detection efficiency, which can lead to false negatives being registered.”  Such processed foods containing egg may still trigger reactions in egg-allergic consumers. 

Detecting egg protein in heat-processed foods, such as bakery products, has traditionally been a difficult endeavour because most normal extraction processes are sometimes unable to effectively solubilise and quantify any egg protein which may be present.  

Additionally, the kit requires no additives or alternative extraction solutions for complex samples which may contain tannins/polyphenols that have the capacity to interfere with assay performance.  

“Allergens can be hidden in many processed foods, and some test methodologies are unable to efficiently detect these allergenic proteins and that was the driving force behind the development of this product,” said Newton.  

“We want to make our test kits cover the widest range of products that are available to make sure they function appropriately and that is a big challenge for test kit manufacturers in terms of screening foods for the presence of allergens.” 

Some of the challenges of creating an allergen detection kit centres around the range of products which in turn can create a complex system for testing.  

Previously, testing for gluten contamination needed to address the issue of the gluten proteins often being present in baked goods as cross-linked aggregates.  This required the presence of reagents to break the cross-links and solubilise the protein such that the protein was available for detection by the specific antibody.  The adoption of similar reagents in a simplified protocol helped inform the development of the Processed Egg Residue detection kit.  

“Test kits have adapted to address these issues where possible.”   

There has recently been increased focus by kit manufacturers to address the issues around detecting egg protein contamination, although many egg detection kits can still have 10-100 fold reduced ability to detect egg in products such as biscuits, pastries, muffins, noodles and pasta.  

The Processed Egg Residue detection kit utilises a unique extraction protocol and satisfies the requirement of a straightforward quantitative or qualitative Egg Assay applicable across the widest range of foods while still providing excellent detection sensitivity for native and processed egg protein.  

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