With new rules on food allergen labelling due to crack down in 2005, ambitious biotech company Eurofins is hoping to grab a slice of the market with a multiple screening test.
The company has developed a DNA based multiple allergen screening test able to detect eight allergens at the same time.
Earlier this year the Council and the European Parliament adopted the amended EU food labelling directive, hailing in tough new times for allergen labelling. Any substance listed on the so-called EU allergen hit list (2000/13/EC annex IIIa) which is used in the production of a foodstuff and still present in the finished product, will have to be labelled.
So what's on the hit list? Gluten from wheat, rye and barley, crustaceae, for example crab meat, eggs, fish, peanut, soy bean, milk and dairy products (including lactose), tree nuts (hazelnut, Brazil nut, almonds, cashew nut, walnut), sesame seeds, celery, mustard and the pseudo allergen sulphite.
The new directive will be published by the end of 2003, after which time member states will have one year to implement the directive. If all goes smoothly, consumers can expect to see allergen labelling on their foodstuffs in 2005.
For biotech company Eurofins its 'PCR Multiple Allergen Screening test represents a novel generation of allergen detection methods.'
According to the company, this assay, based on proprietary technology developed by Eurofins, is capable of simultaneously detecting trace amounts of eight plant species known to cause allergies.
"The test has proven to perform equally well on both, raw materials and finished, complex products. This includes a broad range of complex products like baby foods, biscuits, cereals and bread," said the company in a statement this week.
Depending on the food matrix, the test has proven to be capable of detecting trace amounts of peanut (6 ppm) and gluten (= 15 ppm), Eurofins continued.